Friday, January 31, 2014

Thoughts about Special Occasions

After my birthday, I realized it was a little depressing to have a special occasion and miss out on say, Birthday Cake. Skipping the Friday bagels and donuts at work is one thing, but a birthday coming and going without that treat was pretty annoying.
Now, the problem with Birthday Cakes is that they are giant cakes. If you make a cake that serves 24 or 36 and then three people eat it, that's a lot of cake.
Also, on this diet, you really have to watch the carbs, or you'll knock your carbs over 100g and stop losing weight as well.
With Valentine's Day coming up, how do you prevent this? There won't be a box of Godiva Chocolates this year. So, I think I'm going to go with a couple of homemade, dark-chocolate dipped strawberries for my wife and me.
1 oz of dark chocolate is 13g of carbs
1 large strawberry is 1 gram of carbs
 Each strawberry should take between .5 to .75 oz of chocolate. Thats 7-10g of carbs per strawberry. One of those will be able to be worked into a lean and green meal without tanking the day.
So yes, I know both fruit and chocolate are not on the Medifast approved list, but one strawberry, on one day, when you plan for it seems perfectly reasonable, and will seem more 'special' than just calling a Medifast brownie our dessert.
With Mother's Day, Birthdays, Anniversaries, and other events, I'll try to come up with other 7-10g of carb 'treats'. But if all I can manage is dark chocolate strawberries, that will work too! 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Week 2 complete

I've completed week two of Medifast, and it's been successful so far.
The food choices are edible. It's gotten me cooking and eating healthy. My energy levels are up, weight is down, and I'm sleeping better. It isn't negatively impacting my workouts.
We'll try more foods, and learn more recipes, but I think this is something that should be easy to stick with through the next few months. There will be some challenges (Mardi Gras, conventions, cruise) but I don't see anything preventing me from being successful short or long term now.
Deciding to do Medifast has 'set' the desire to eat and cook healthy better than I expected. I've been playing at eating better for several months, but never stuck to it. This is getting me 'stuck in'.
Here are some statistics for weeks 1 and 2:
Week 1:
  • Lost 14 lbs total
  • Biggest daily loss was 4.2 lbs
  • Smallest loss was a gain of 1.1 lbs
  • Average loss of 2.0 lbs/day  
 Week 2:
  • Lost 6.6 lbs total
  • Biggest daily loss was 4.1 lbs
  • Smallest loss was a gain of 0.1 lbs 
  • Average loss of 0.9 lbs/day 
  • Loss of 20.6 lbs total
  • Average loss of 1.47 lbs/day 
I think that Week 1 was clearly an outlier, week 2 might partially be one. I expect to settle in to 3-4 lbs a week at this point, and for that amount to steadily decrease as I get closer to goal.
At 4lbs/week average, I'll hit goal at Week 23
At 3lbs/week average, I'll hit goal at  Week 31
Two weeks down. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cooking on Medifast

Yesterday I talked about how to make the Medifast packaged meals palatable, but today I'm going over how I'm eating my Lean and Green Meals when I generally hate all leafy green vegetables.
 First, my proteins:
  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 99% Fat Free Ground Turkey Breast
  • Shrimp
  • Egg beaters 
And my vegetables:
  • White mushrooms
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Jicama 
That's the extent of everything so far. A pretty pathetic list. I plan to add more protein options as we continue... especially more fish. I also hope to add some wild game in the future as well. Vegetable options are my weak spot. I love mushrooms, which is good since they are on the approved list, but other stuff is not as likely to get eaten.
My strategy is to keep adding a little bit of romaine until I'm able to tolerate a salad, and then hope to branch out a little bit. I've got some pretty severe tast/texture issues with nearly all green vegetables, but I'm hoping I can train myself to get past those visceral responses and actually taste the food.
Now, what about the actual cooking? Here's what I've been doing:
Chicken: pan sauteed, baked, broiled, sliced into a stir fry. I use a touch of olive oil and then marinate the chicken in something: Taco or Fajita seasoning, Mrs. Dash, Dale's Seasoning, Lemon Pepper, BBQ rub, Sriacha, Ginger,  Shawarma seasoning. Keeping the flavor profile varied is a good thing, but my basic default is chicken in a touch of oil with soy sauce, Worcestershire, and a big blast of sriacha. I haven't gotten sick of this yet and it pairs really well with the mushrooms.
Turkey: seasoned and formed into patties, with a touch of steak sauce and some laughing cow, I can wrap this in a romaine leaf and eat it like a pseudo-burger. As a burger it leaves a LOT to be desired. It's not beef, it's not fatty, it doesn't taste like a burger, it's not dripping with cheese and bacon, it's not on a huge soft bun. Don't eat this thinking 'burger'. For hat it is it isn't bad. However, my standard for turkey is to ccok it with either taco or spaghetti seasonings and mix it with my mushrooms. It's pretty awesome this way.
Egg Beaters: For a change of pace, I will cut half my primary protein out and add a cup of egg beaters. I cook them 'hard' and hit them with a ton of pepper and some garlic salt and they're a good 'now and then'. I also use egg beaters as a pre-workout extra protein.
Shrimp: lightly sauteed in olive oil and spices, or peeled and thrown into a stir-fry. Shrimp are awesome and you get a ton of them for your 7 oz.
Mushrooms: throw them in a pan with a dash of Worcestershire and some Mrs. Dash, and some water. Get them soft and some flavor cooked in, then mix them right in with your protein.
Jicama: I've only had this once and it was a fail. I sliced it into long french-fry shaped chunks and threw it into a stir-fry. It was slimy on the outside, a mild crunch on the inside. It was pretty awful, but it tasted like sriacha so I was able to stomach it. I ended up falling back on an OCD method of eating, which was to eat nothing but jicama until it was all gone, then mushrooms, then shrimp. I hadn't realized I was doing it until I got to the shrimp. I'll try another preparation of this and try to get it crisper, so there isn't that floppy slime texture and see if I like it. If not, then it can go... it's not like there's a ton of jicama options out there in restaurants for me to choose as a healthy alternative.
Romaine: so far, I've only eaten this as a lettuce wrap. I expect that will be my primary method for a while, and once I'm happier with that I'll try it as a taco salad or something.   

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

'Cooking' on Medifast

Our second order of Medifast food is coming in and I thought I'd go over what we've had so far, and the best ways to prepare it!
 First the easy stuff: 
  • Peanut Butter Crunch Bar
  • Chocolate Mint Crunch Bar
  • Parmesan Cheese Puffs
  • Cheese Pizza Bites
  • Chewy Cookie Dough Bars
  • Ready to Drink Dutch Chocolate Shake 
All of this we've eaten right out of the package. With the exception of the Cheese Pizza Bites, all of these are pretty good too. Now on to the food that has more preparation:
Cream of Chicken Soup - made by the instructions, this was horrible, and I ate it when I was hungry no less. It was so bad I didn't give it another chance for over a week. When I revisited it, though I did the following: Soak the soup in water, add a tiny bit of chicken flavor, an oz of finely chopped cooked chicken breast, and some Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning. Now it's good! It takes an oz of your Lean and Green protein, but it's worth it. 
Vegetarian Chili - soak this for *hours* before you microwave it, seriously. Overnight is good, but at least 4 hours. This gets the beans tender enoguh to eat and thickens everythign up nicely. I add Chili Powder or Cayenne to give it some kick, and an oz or two of ground turkey from my Lean and Green. This gives it some more depth and bulks it up, too. 
Macaroni and Cheese - this is edible with enough pepper if you prepare it normally, but when you mix in a wedge of Laughing Cow and a dash of something spicy (more Tony Chachere's), it transforms. Throw in something from your L&G (mushrooms, or turkey, or chicken) and it becomes a great lunch.
Cinnamon Crunch Cereal - I was very iffy about this, because I don't like dry cereal, and I never had any desire to try soy or almond milk... I don't even like skim milk. Then I had this with Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk and it was amazing. I will be using that milk for all cereals I eat, even when I'm off Medifast completely. It's that good.
Pancakes - These cook faster than 'normal' pancakes, so you have to set the temp a little lower. Also, mix them by eye, and not measurement, as they tell you to add way too much water. Unlike real pancakes, where you have lots of wiggle room to add more mix and toss the first one when you under/overcook it, you really only get one chance with these guys. Tastewise, they are decent, but this has probably been the most frustrating thing I've cooked. I want to explore some of the options with these, my one experiment so far has been a pancake muffin in a cup in the microwave, and it didn't turn out great.
Blueberry Muffin Soft Bake - cooking these by the instructions ends up with a dry mess. I need to find out how to perfect this, because I want more of these, but they are hard to prepare.
Chocolate Chip Soft Bake - for this, I add a little extra water and pay attention when cooking, I want it to be a little underdone. We're going to explore some options with this tonight, as well... makign a Chocolate Chip/Chocolate PB2 'truffle' tonight, using the brownie method below:
Chocolate Brownie Soft Bake - this simply wasn't as good as the chocolate chip, until we made a find. Mix up your brownie mix with a touch more water, pour half into a parchment-lined muffin cup. Put a ball of PB2 on the brownie mix, then cover with the rest of the brownie. Bake for 12-14 minutes at 350, then pull it out and toss it in the freezer for 30 minutes. the brownie doesn't cook completely in that time, and you end up with this rich fudgey peanutbuttery treat. I might have thought this was this amazing on day 1... not sure though.
Chocolate Pudding -  we've only made this one way, and I don't see any reason to change it. You throw the pudding, a half cup of water, and a cup of ice into your Ninja Blender and blend the living crap out of it. Dump it into a glass and you've got this really nice chocolate soft serve. Add more liquid and it's a drinkable milkshake (a 'real' shake, that is difficult to get through a straw). If you've got the calories, make it with almond milk instead of water, and if you like darker chocolate, add some dark cocoa powder.
That's all so far. I'll also give a piece of general advice... if you don't like something early on, try it again later. You really will have a light shift in your taste buds and things will taste differently to you. Also, split up your L&G. After a few days on plan, your L&G is realyl too big of a meal at one sitting. Spreading  it out to 'enhance' your Medifast lunch is a great trick. Also, we make a point to have a 'dessert' after dinner every night, and save our puddings and chocolate chip/brownie soft bakes for this. That helps a lot with having somethign to look forward to.
Final thoughts: I had bunless turkey burgers for dinner last night, wrapped in romaine lettuce. I managed to eat all of my lettuce, and didn't give up on it. This is a pretty major victory for me since I hate lettuce. I want to incorporate more into my diet and maybe I'll be able to eat some salad in the future.  

Monday, January 27, 2014

Exercising on Medifast

I woke up this morning ready for my first A.M. exercise class on the plan. I woke up an hour before class, had egg beaters and a shake for breakfast and got to class.
Class was a pretty basic circuit: 
Warm up was 1 minute of TRX squats, 30 seconds of power curls (I used a black band, it's a squat into a bicep curl), 1 minute of leg swings (30 seconds each leg) then repeat.
After warm-up we hit the circuit, 40 seconds each exercise: 
  • 46 lb Chest Presses on the cable machine
  • Alternating waves while walking forward/back with the heavy rope
  • 50 lb Kettlebell Squats
  • TRX butterfly pull ups
  • Calf drops/raises on a step
  • Alternating shoulder presses with a 45lb Olympic bar, one end on the ground, 27lb added to the end I'm lifting
  • Freestyle on the heavy bag
We repeated this circuit twice.
Next we did partner work, although we only partnered once, 40 seconds each of: 
  • Planks
  • Wall Squats
  • Band running... one person has a heavy band around their waist and runs, while the other person holds on to the band and tries to hold them back. 
We closed out with some stretches on our feet.
I pushed myself fairly hard and felt it three times... all on the heavy cardio areas. After working the bag both times, and doing the band run, I had a stitch in my side. Other than that I felt pretty good. I'm doing 'real' planks these days and they SUCK. It's amazing how much easier they are when you cheat just a little bit.
I'm going to hydrate and see how I feel. I brought extra protein (laughing cow, chicken breast) if I feel like I need it.  
In other news, I was up .1 lb this morning, likely due to holding onto water for eating too much sodium yesterday (hello, Turkey Jerky), or just vagaries of the scale as my weight starts settling down.
Also, we found an amazing method for making Medifast brownies yesterday... fill them with PB2, bake in the oven until partially baked, freeze. Ridiculously good. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Made it to day 10!

Not much to say today. We had a short grocery run and bought veggies and lean meats, spices, sugar free coffee creamer, PB2, and some Trader Joe's tempura chicken for my daughter. The grocery store wasn't a big pile of temptation either.
We experimented some more with different recipes... our brownies became 'peanut butter cup cupcakes' filled/frosted with PB2 and were really good.
I had my second cup of cream of chicken soup, the first was horrid... I'd avoided it since then. But this time, with a drop of bouillon, a little grilled chicken, and Tony's seasoning, it was actually good.
Our second order is on it's way, we waited a little too long to order so we're basically going to be out of Medifast meals when it arrives. Which means some of the things that aren't getting much 'love' (Chili, Cream of Chicken Soup, Pancakes) are all going to get eaten, some of them daily, and other things like crunchy/chewy bars are about to be knocked out of rotation for a day or two unless the order gets here early.
 This isn't a terrible thing, but it will remind us to re-order a little sooner in the future. Several new things are being added to our favorites this order, so that's nice to have coming.
This week is looking to be a pretty easy one.  We've got the RED Ball this weekend, and historically they have provided a relatively healthy meal for us, so I'm pretty sure as long as I don't eat the bread and potatoes/rice that it will qualify for Lean and Green. Honestly I think the harder meal will be breakfast the next morning, when I'll be having a Medifast shake and not an omelette and crepes.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Medifast thoughts, how'd that social dinner go?

So, I ate my Lean and Green meal before going to Old Spaghetti Factory, and had a 'bulky' meal (lots of eggs and protein). When we got to the restaurant there was cheesy bread and t-rav on the table. It looked good, but there was no compelling urge to have a bite.
 I ordered my glass of tea and proceeded to have a great 'dinner'. I wasn't ever really tempted by any of the entrees I saw. The fresh bread and butter looked good, but it was Not Allowed so I was able to ignore it. All I thought about the bread was 'I'll need to keep an eye on how much of that I eat once I'm transitioning off this diet'.
Dinner ended and the conversation was great.
This is the first 'diet' I've ever been on. I've tracked my calories before, mind you, and was successful on Weight Watchers for a while. I think that this diet, which is a pretty brutal culture shock, will do more for me than 'just track!' ever did. Just tracking was frustrating for a number of reasons... I'd have Chinese food, or work out, and not drink enough water and the scale wouldn't move for days and days.
 Now I'm on a plan. The scale bumped up, but I'm on plan. I didn't drink enough water, and the scale slowed down. Then I pounded water yesterday, and shed a ton of water and I've got a big drop again.
 So what am I learning from this? How is this going to help when I'm off plan? Well, I know I need to hydrate more in general. I know I'm bad about that, and I just need to keep a bottle of water nearby and drink more. Not only will it keep me from retaining water, it really does help with hunger.
Also, I'm learning portion control. If I can be fine after eating a half cup of Macaroni and Cheese, then off plan I can eat a half cup of real mac and cheese, and not a plate full. If I can drink an 8 oz shake and be fine, I don't need a 16 or 24 oz shake. This is the first time I've ever stuck with a plan where portion control was actually monitored to this level.
Finally, I'm actually measuring and weighing. If I do that for a few months I'll get an accurate view in my head about how much food I'm eating. This will help immensely when going out to eat. 
 I really want to be one of the success stories that keeps the weight off after a diet. I can see how it would be easy to just say 'screw it' and go right back to bad habits instantly, so I'll have to actively work to avoid that.
In other news, the scale was good to me this morning, I finally dumped all the water weigh I held on to after working out.  

Friday, January 24, 2014

More Thoughts after week 1 of Medifast...

One full week of Medifast has come and gone and now I have to make sure I can keep this up for a few months to make my goals.
 So far, I think that's perfectly doable. I *like* a lot of the food. The shakes, the cereal, the crunch bars, the soft bakes, the puddings are all good. I would like to find a crunchy savory snack that i actually like, but  that won't be the end of the world.
 The macaroni and cheese, once you've 'enhanced' it with a laughing cow wedge, some Tony Chachere's, and maybe some mushrooms and an oz of lean protein is a good filling lunch.
For dinner, I'm eating a ton of mushrooms, can do lots of different things with ground turkey breast, chicken breast, shrimp, fish, and eggs. I need to incorporate some more veggies, and will probably start incorporating some squash soon, and it's about time to try to learn how to eat lettuce.
In a surprise twist, eating three servings of mushrooms and 5-7 oz of lean protein (after cooking weight) is actually too much food. So that will make it a lot easier to plan on my lunch taking some of that food over.
I believe the biggest boosts this diet will give me are the following:
Meal Plans - I eat 5 pre-packaged meals a day. This prevents me from skipping breakfast (which I did way too much), it makes it easy to eat lunch (which I often skipped or ate very late). It has a night-time 'dessert' planned in every night (a soft bake cookie/brownie or soft serve made from pudding mix).
No going out - I'm cooking real food every night. Since this is 'Just Required' we have meat and veggies in the house every night. We aren't going 'let's just order pizza or grab McDonald's on the way home'. If we get a habit of cooking every night and only going out for occasions and to socialize with friends, instead of it just being easier, then that is a huge win.
Stomach size - No lie, I think this will make it easier to eat smaller meals more often. In the past week I have not once gone 'ugh why did I eat all that'. As my stomach contracts and I get used to 6 meals a day, I think that I'll be able to keep that schedule going after it becomes habit.
 And that's the whole trick here, of course, is to use this to make good habits. Obviously eating meal bars and meal shakes isn't the habit I want... the habit is 'small healthy meals with reasonable snacks'. If I can get into a mode where I'm eating a reasonable breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with reasonable snacks, then I think this will stick.
 The hardest part so far is social eating. But, that's not been a big issue so far. Tonight I'm just having to skip a social meal (I'll be there, but won't eat) since it's at a pasta place, but honestly a small piece of lean meat and some low-carb veggies is doable a lot of places... I just have to expand my diet and start eating green things.
That's gonna be the hard part.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Medifast, Week 1 recap

Well, I successfully completed week 1.
I ended the week down 14 lbs, having gained a pound on the scale today compared to yesterday... I ate more and did a 45 minute circuit training workout, and the two combined tend to cause me to add a couple pounds of weight normally, so only being up one is decent.
 I need to drink a ton of water today to let my body let go of what it was retaining from exercise.
 After a week, as long as I keep losing 2+ lbs a week from here out, I'm certain I can keep on this plan for a while. If my weight loss is averaging less than 2 lbs a week, I will probably be tempted to get off Medifast and just try to do a more normal weight-loss plan. 
I'm feeling pretty good, not having huge hunger pangs, and my cravings are under control. Now it's time to buckle down and maintain this for a while and see what happens. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Medifast, Day 6 recap

Day 6 was an easier day.
 Work was pretty hectic so I actually forgot about eating twice, and was late on my Medifast meals.
My hardest moment was actually going to the store to buy more food for Lean and Green... I had eaten a bar at 3:45, and didn't go to the store until 5:30. At 2 hours after a bar, you're pretty hungry, and things like the hot wing bar, the doughnut and cookie cabinet, and the snack aisle all look pretty tempting.
Many times at the grocery store I would buy a snack... chocolate milk or OJ in a single serving container, maybe a chicken strip or a doughnut or a cookie. Not today. I looked longingly at the hot bar dry-rub pub wings, but skipped them. It was harder than expected, and I actually thought to myself 'how bad is one wing?'
But I managed through that and instead bought fresh kale and made kale chips. And then I ate them! I overcooked them and they were a little burnt tasting, but I ate them. I'd describe the flavor as 'smoky garlic' and the substance as 'non existent' but it was something other than mushrooms. I really need to expand my veggie options. Maybe tonight I'll try some lettuce and see if I can tolerate the flavor any better now that I've done this for a while.
On the scale... weighed last night after dinner and a couple big glasses of water, and was up 1.5 lbs from my a.m. weight, and sure enough I only lost .4 lbs this morning. I think that is indicative of a more 'natural' rate of weight loss now that I've shed all my excess glycogen. If I can average .4 lbs a day and lose 2.8 lbs a week, I'll be perfectly happy. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Medifast Day 5 recap

So, Day 5. 
 I was back at work after the weekend, and honestly while I had some hungry times, this day wasn't that difficult. I had my cereal for breakfast, a shake, a bar, and pretzels along with my water at work, then a big pile of chicken and mushrooms with sriacha for dinner. I used the same size bowl I normally use for Asian food, but instead of rice, it was full of mushrooms.
After dinner, we decided to go to The Lodge for a light workout. I did 30 minutes of elliptical on level 6, moderate pace. It wasn't bad at all! When we got home I went ahead and made my final Medifast meal of the day, this time a pudding, mixed with crushed ice in the Ninja Blender, with almond milk instead of water. It came out like soft serve and wasn't bad at all. I should have added cocoa powder to it.
 After working out and eating, I weighed before bed and was up about 1/3 of a pound from my morning weight. This is the first time on Medifast that I have 'gained' any weight on the scale, which leads me to believe that I'm done losing the bulk of my water weight now and should start seeing my standard pattern of weighing heavier at night than I do in the morning.
Since I think I'm done with shedding glycogen, here's my day to day so far:
Day 0: Did not weigh, ate three fast food meals and worked out.
Day 1: 332.0 lbs
Day 2:  328.3 lbs (3.7 lost)
Day 3: 324.7 lbs (3.6 lost)
Day 4: 320.5 lbs (3.8 lost)
Day 5: 318.5 lbs (2 lost)
Day 6: 317.3 lbs  (1.2 lost)
332 lbs is the most I have ever weighed while tracking on MyFitnessPal.
306 is the least I weighed, back in 2012 right around Geekway. I hope to beat that number before Geekway this year.
My overarching goal this time is to get down to 250 lbs via Medifast, and then transition back to real food and decide where to go from there, health wise. At 250, I'll be back in college shape, and while I'm not doing martial arts 6 hours a week any more, I think it's a good spot. Also that should be a good weight for me to get back into Kendo and tennis is a big way, which should help me more than dieting. If I can do my workout classes 2x a week, and then hit balls with sticks and hit people with sticks a couple more times a week, I should be able to maintain/lose without having to diet, and instead just eat reasonably and track portions.
One thing that this plan is really doing is ingraining into me how easy it is to cook something healthy as opposed to something fattening. If nothing else, being forced to cook every night for 6 months or so will get me into some really good habits about groceries and keeping the kitchen in a 'ready to cook' state, stocked with spices and so forth. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Medifast, Day 4 recap

Well, Day 4 was my last weekend day of the starting week, and I was able to navigate it just fine. I cleaned some kitchen, did some laundry, and ran an errand out of the house, and played some XBox when I was bored.
We shifted things up for the first time in scheduling... we had D&D from 5:00-9:30, and so we decided to have our Lean and Green meal at 3:00. I also moved one of my veggies around this day...
Breakfast was Cinnamon Sugar cereal and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I never would have tried almond milk without this diet, but it actually goes really well with cereal! I can see me using this with my Cheerios once we're off the Medifast plan.
For my second Medifast meal, I had mac and cheese with a 1/2 cup of mushrooms added, and a ton of Tony's Cajun Seasoning, and a Laughing cow wedge melted into it. This was really good, considering it's high-protein diet food.
Lunch was 3 ounces of grilled chicken breast, a cup of egg beaters, and a cup of mushrooms. having this at 3:00 before D&D was very successful.
 At D&D I ate a Peanut Butter Crunch Bar while watching the group eat pizza... sigh. That was a little rough, but I wasn't really tempted by it, which I'm glad of. Later on in the session, I had some pizza bites. these still don't do a lot for me, flavor wise, but there are a lot of them and that makes it a long-eating snack, which is a good thing.
 Finally, I was supposed to have a brownie bake when I got home, but I ended up just drinking a shake instead, as it was late.
 I have still kept losing every day (13.5 lbs so far) but I think that it's about to start slowing down, as I think my water weight and glycogen should have only been around 10-15 lbs, so that should be gone now, or soon... and then I can start losing fat. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Medifast, Day 3 recap

I expected this day to be the hardest yet, but I navigated it pretty well!
 One thing, being a Saturday, I never had work to contend with. When I got hungry, I washed dishes, or did laundry, or played a game, or watched some TV. Doing things instead of eating certainly helped a lot.
Food choices during the day were based on what was convenient at the time, I ate one meal in the car, for instance. I also knew I would be going out for dinner and had to be careful there.
 Dinner was at a Tapas Bar, which was actually a great choice for the first meal out on the diet. I shared a grilled chicken skewer that i used literally less than a 1/2 tsp of sauce on, for 2-3oz of grilled chicken. Then I shared 'Wicked Good Shrimp' which was grilled shrimp in an amazing sauce. I guessed on the sauce (but think 110 calories is probably close) and added 4 jumbo tiger prawns.
I also had one bite of braised pork shoulder (I skipped the corncake it was on) and  one bite of fried jerk chicken breast.
I was worried I'd have messed up, eating a bunch of carbs I shouldn't, or gotten too much sodium and tanked myself, but I woke up feeling good and down another 4 lbs of water weight. That's 11.5 pounds of water weight in three days, which seems crazy until I remember the day prior to first weigh-in... Mc Donald's Sausage Biscuit for breakfast, Chinese Buffet for lunch, an hour long workout, and then Chick-Fil-A nuggets for dinner. Between the workout and the mass of sodium I consumed I probably had a ton extra water at the time.
 Today could be my first day of Ketosis, and when things are supposed to get easier on the hunger scale... honestly, I've not yet had any real struggles with hunger, so if it gets easier then I know I can keep this up.
 I'm actually interested in how today goes... I started the day with Cereal and Almond Milk (first time ever for Almond Milk, and it was great with the cereal!), I'm going to eat my Lean and Green meal right before D&D (1 cup of egg beaters, 3 oz of chicken, and a ton of mushrooms), then D&D... where I have to navigate the snacks at the table and then eat Medifast bars instead of real food. We'll see how tempted I am. Nick better not bring homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Medifast, Day 2 recap

Day 2 was very similar to Day 1 in terms of hunger most of the day, but I did get a lot more hungry at night.
The Medifast food is still palatable... The Mac and Cheese was much better than the cream of chicken soup! Cheese Pizza bites were not quite as good as the parm bites, and the Chocolate Mint Bar was just as good as the peanut butter bar.
 The shake for breakfast and brownie for dessert are still working fine!
 As to my 'lean and green' meal, a 7oz ground turkey burger with taco seasoning and a can of mushrooms was much more filling than the chicken breast from the night before. I foresee using a lot of ground turkey breast in the future for 'hungry' days.
 I think I can stick with this for a significant amount of time. By tracking, buying food, blogging about it, making a plan, I've turned it into an activity that takes advantage of some of my OCD tendencies.
 First big challenge is tonight, we're going to Zac's birthday at a tapas place. I think if I limit myself to some shrimp and tuna, I can manage, but they don't have any vegetables on the menu that fall into the plan that I'll eat. So, my thought is to eat my veggies (mushrooms, yay!) at lunch, and then eat my protein at dinner. That's my plan, anyway. I'm hoping the shrimp and tuna don't come with thick rich sauces.
 Actually, eating out is going to be the challenge here... we've got D&D tomorrow night, which will cause some issues with planning, we'll probably need to eat our real meal at lunch and then just bring medifast bars to eat at Jay's house. Then, next friday we've got a planned evening out that I don't think there's anything on-plan on the menu for me at all.
 But, I'm still losing my initial water weight and still working on getting into ketosis, and so far, so good. I'd rather just drink water at a restaurant than tank the plan these first few weeks, so we'll see how that works out! 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Medifast Day 1 Thoughts

Well, Day 1 is over... and honestly, that was no where near as bad as I had expected it would be.
 Upon waking up I had my shake. It was one of the better protein shakes I've had, you can obvisouly taste that it isn't chocolate milk, but for a protein shake, it was good stuff. We splurged on the reaady-to-drink options (30 cents more per serving), but it's worth it since you can keep them in the fridge to get cold and they don't have any of that grittiness that powdered shakes tend to have.
 By 9:00 I was hungry and ready to eat, so I opened up my parmesan cheese bites. These are nearly flavorless puffs, very similar to a rice cracker. Taste wasn't great, but was perfectly acceptable. I slowly noshed on them for the next 15-20 minutes, 1 at a time.
 For lunch, I mixed up a cream of chicken soup. I enjoy cream soups and was looking forward to this... unfortunately it had very little flavor, was thin, and overall disappointing. I had to add a ton of pepper to it, and after a couple of sips broke the rule of 'eat slow' and just pounded it down to get past it. I think if I doctor this up with hot sauce in the future, it will be more palatable, but overall, ugh.
 By 2:30 I was pretty hungry, but wanted to hold off til 3:... then I had a 3:00 meeting pop up. At 2:50 I ate about 15 pistachio kernels because I was starving. My meeting ran long and it was 4:15 when I got out, 5 minutes later I cut up my Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch bar into 8 tiny pieces... I ate 4 of them way too fast, then purposely slowed down and ate the last 4. This was the best thing I ate all day at work, by far.
 6:30, I prepped dinner. Lauren had leftover Cheese-Stuffed Crust Pepperoni Pizza (sigh). I took a chicken breast and doused it in Worcester and Mrs. Dash and sautee'd it in a few teaspoons of oil. Christy cut up her lettuce and peppers while I cooked mushrooms from a can in their own water with some Tony's. After Christy got her chicken, I sliced mine on the bias and threw it in with the mushrooms and then doused it in some cayenne...  I normally would have eaten 2x as much, but stopped at the end of my serving.

9:00, I had my last meal, a Soft Bake Brownie. This was decent, but not as good as the crunch bar from earlier.
 I tracked my Water, and had 64 oz at work and another 32 oz at home. I should do a bit better than this. 
 I went to bed at 10:00 a little hungry... but woke up feeling fine and weighed. I know it's all water weight, but losing nearly 4 lbs on day 1 was a nice feeling.
 I'm curious to see how today goes, and how hungry I'll be. Theoretcially, the first 3-5 days are the worst as your body gets into ketosis, and then you stop feeling hungry at all and have to remind yourself to eat. We'll see if that happens for me! 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Starting Medifast!

I decided it was time to make a significant change in my weight. Diet and exercise wasn't working, and I wasn't really tracking. 
So, I decided to start Medifast. While I know it's not a long-term solution, it has a lot of positives for me...
It's very structured. It lets me indulge my organizational aspects, I'm already setting alarms and making plans for when and how to eat.
It costs a lot of money. Tracking on MFP is free, but buying $300 of Medifast meals means 'this is serious'.
I've got a person doing it with me. We'll be able to keep each other honest.
Yesterday was my last day before we started the plan. So I had Chinese Buffet and Chick-Fil-A to go along with a workout. No workouts are planned for the next week, and nothing should stop us from sticking to the plan through the weekend and get started on it.
While we do have a dinner to go to Saturday night, it's tapas and I'm going to stick to a small grilled chicken and mushrooms, and Sunday is gaming, but that just means we need to let our host know we're eating on our own (and not graze on the snacks at the table).
I'm a little worried about hunger, and will track that here. I had a 'shake' for breakfast (I don't know why they call these things shakes), and I get to/have to eat every 2-3 hours. I've got a bag with 8 Medifast Meals in it, 4 for today, 4 for tomorrow. I only expect to eat 3 of them , but have a spare as a 'just in case'... i'd rather eat one extra Medifast mean than decide I'm starving and need to hit the vendobot.

So far, so good. In 45 minutes, I'm due to eat another meal and I'm not hungry yet. I've got my water here, and will drink some tea if I feel like I need to. I've already cut out all diet sodas and most caffeine from my diet, so I'm hoping that this plan will give me a big jump start.