The struggle to become half the man i used to be . . .  

I am glad you stopped by. My goal is to post my thoughts (big & little) about my weightloss efforts here a few times a week. I hope you enjoy them.

With over 150 posts it is getting harder for new people to find the info they are looking for. So I am highliting a few pages to help those looking for answers.


DAY#430 - Miracle Noodles
Hello friends, Sorry for the long delay in writing. Spring sprang and things have been busy in my life. I still write several diet related things a week but it is usually in the form of responding to people who write me personally asking questions or looking for advice. So between being busy with work & home life and responding to emails I have been busy busy. So I apologize to people who have been faithfully following my progress .

If you follow my facebook page you should have seen my post from earlier this week. I ended my round 3 phase 2 with more loss and broke my goal of finally becoming half the man I once was. I now weigh 210lbs+ less than my heaviest weight ever and am very happy. My new goal is to enjoy my summer while eating healthy. Hopefully sometime in the next week or so I will actually post more about my summer eating plans and activity.

For now, I would like to share that I became a 'Miracle Noodle' eater this week. I had never eaten them before and was slightly worried that due to the "you either hate them or love them" posts I have read that I may be throwing money into the wind. I found a small pack of 6 of them on Amazon and with their subscribe and save feature I was able to gamble $10 on them. Here is the link: Miracle Noodle Shirataki Angel Hair Pasta, 7-Ounce Packages (Pack of 6) You can always buy a case of them elsewhere for cheaper but who wants a whole case of them if you don't like them.

So after my order arrived my wife made spaghetti for the family and I whipped out my Miracle Noodles. Since the packs were small i went for 2 packs. I pretty much followed other people's advice and drained the liquid they are packed in and rinsed them for about 1 minute under water in a strainer in the sink. I then let them dry and even threw them in a paper towel and dried them more. Due to the fact that they taste like nothing unless they are cooked with the items. I put them in a hot frying pan with some garlic oil and garlic and fried them up. I then added my wife's meat sauce and let that cook for about 5 more minutes sprinkled with parm and YUM. I was happy and it filled me up. I immediately went to my computer and ordered a case, that was a no brainer. They are a bit spongy, or gummy in texture (kind of like al dente spaghetti) so they are definitely about combining with a sauce or meal. They kind of remind me of Korean cellophane noodles and I could see easily adding them to an asian dish. They made my meal very filling and added 0 calories and 0 carbs to my meal. w00t!

My second experiment: I had a bunch of left over roasted chicken i sliced it up in a pan with some spices, salt, pepper, garlic etc. and a bit of chicken broth and put in a pack of noodles, stirred them up and yummy. They tend to stick to each other and I tend not to pay attention to eating so half way through my meal i discovered I had already eaten all the noodles and only had chicken left. That further put a stamp of 'OK these are good' on the noodles. I didn't even think about eating them.

I can see how some people may be put off by their packaging. They look a bit odd as they are white and packed in water and have a slightly odd smell before you rinse them, but if you can get past that they are pretty easy to eat. And where do Miracle noodles come from? They are derived from the root of a Konjak plant that is grown in Asia and sometimes referred to as the Elephant Yam. Pretty much Asians have been using it in cooking for years and it is purely soluble fiber that passes through your system. Ok enough education. If you haven;t tried them it is worth buying a small pack and giving them a try.

[2011-05-20] -

DAY#390 - Don't call me Sugar!
Boy, am I angry. Have you ever befriended someone and let them into your sacred group of trusted friends believed what they stood for and then only found out after committing to them they had been lying to you? Deceiving you? Yeah. Well, it happened to me and it is painful.

In the past month I have befriended Maltitol, a sugar alcohol. I left him into my life as a friend and an optional replacement for sugar. I thought cause he told me that he was LOW CARB friendly, Diabetic Friendly, and Sugar Free we would be fine friends. I then found Maltitol syrup I used to make "Sugar Free" ice cream (that tasted great). I also bought Russell Stover Candies, Hershey Bars, Chocolate Chips and York Peppermint patties that were all made with Maltitol. I was happy that there were tons of choices to help me fix my sweet tooth on an occasion.

However, my excitement has been short lived. I have been noticing that when I do eat a piece of "sugar free" candy my blood sugar seems to rise dramatically compared to most things I eat. How could that be? I blamed it on a bunch of things but as I keep narrowing down my options I have come to realize that "sugar alcohol" specially Maltitol has been the Culprit. As i researched on the net I came across this article: Apparently not all sugar alcohols are created equal. AND on top of that Maltitol is the biggest culprit. Maltitol depending on its form can have a Glycemic Index of 50+ which has a greater effect on your blood sugar than eating a bowl of noodles. EGAD!

I HAVE BEEN LIED TO. Maltitol is not a friend, not even close. WHY would I want to consume a sugar alcohol that considerably raises my blood sugar? If I want a sugar spike, I will just eat plain sugar. OK, so Maltitol is better than sugar, but it still has the same effects. That is like telling me that 90% strength poison is better for me than 100% strength poison. Sorry it is still poison. So Maltitol and all Maltitol based "sugar free' candies, cookies & sweets. You are no longer my friend and I do not have plans to spend any more time with you.

Using the chart of Sugar Alcohols below it is obvious that Sorbitol, Erythritol and Stevia (which also has a GI of 0) are the better choices. I will be looking for them as my sugar alternatives and staying away from the others.

Glycemic Index and Energy Values of Polyols
Polyol GI(glucose=100) Calories/g
Maltitol syrup (intermediate) 53 3
Maltitol syrup (regular) 52 3
Maltitol syrup (high) 48 3
Polyglycitol (hydrogenated starch hydrolysate) 39 2.8
Maltitol syrup (high-polymer) 36 3
Maltitol 36 2.7
Xylitol 13 3
Isomalt 9 2.1
Sorbitol 9 2.5
Lactitol 6 2
Erythritol 0 0.2
Mannitol 0 1.5

I am currently trying out a few different products to join with my use of stevia and to replace my no-good two timing excuse for a friend Maltitol. including: NOW Foods Erythritol Pure Sweetener and Zsweet All Natural Zero Calorie Sweetener .

[2011-04-10] -

DAY#378 - Can of Worms
I wanted to decide on a weight management program I could be on after I had completed my weight loss on HCG. I started about 3 months ago looking in earnest for the right program that would make me happy and that I could continuing learning to eat better. A close friend of mine told me a few weeks into my search that they had started Weight Watchers and after listening to them describe it I was hooked on finding out more. I joined their site for a week long free trial and tested the waters. I wanted to understand if it would work for me and I liked it. I liked the points, how it was simplified, how I could eat 'anything' as long as I kept my point count for each day and I could maintain my weight. I stuck Weight Watchers in my 'back pocket' as a maintenance program that I thought would work for me.

However, my first look was not good enough. I needed more info. The point thing intrigued me, but I wanted to know how they figured out points. Was it just simplified calories? 1 point = 100 calories, nah, that would be way too simple. So I started googling, my search found several point calculators and some Weight Watcher point formulas. Not all of them were exactly the same but they were all very similar. Here is the general consensus: Each Weight Watcher point is worth approximately 50 calories You take the total number of calories in an item, deduct bonus points for fiber eaten and add on penalty points for fat and divide by 50. Each point ends up being worth approximately 50 calories. However, if you eat a high fiber food you can eat more and if the food has fat in it you will have to eat less. So if you want to loose weight you need to consume less points than you need to live, etc. Basically Calories In, Calories Out. And clearly in Weight Watchers, fat is the naughty calorie that gets punished.

This seemed reasonable if you believe the old fashioned food pyramid and government hype where carbs are good and fat is bad. Unfortunately, I have issues with that nutritional belief system. Now, don't get me wrong, I do believe that if you consume less calories than you expend during the day you will lose weight. So using Weight Watchers you can loose weight. However, what weight are you loosing? Isn't the goal to loose fat vs. muscle weight? And my other goal of learning to eat better, does Weight Watchers really address that? Not really. I mean all they are really doing is regulating your calories and punishing you for eating fat. So if you want to have a box of Ritz crackers and eat nothing but that you could. Just don't eat more than your points worth. Does that teach you anything? Yeah, do not eat too much. That is the exact advice my grandma gave me 30 years ago. I don't need Weight Watchers to tell me that.

I really want to not only know how much to eat, I also want to know WHAT to eat. And specifically what to eat that will keep me lean and healthy. So while being clever enough to count calories in a simplified method, there were no guarantees I was gonna be lean or healthy with the Weight Watchers points system alone. (Maybe their meetings which I would never attend offer better nutritional counseling, but at least the point system looks like it encourages the old food pyramid, so a bummer)

The final nail in the Weight Watchers coffin for me was my reading of the book, Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It (Borzoi Books). It made complete sense to me and gave proof to what I had already thought. (I reviewed this in a post a few weeks ago, but here is my short synopsis) Fat in our bodies is released and/or stored in our cells by the hormone Insulin. Insulin is controlled by the amount of sugar/carbs(starches, fruits, veggies, etc) in our bloodstream. So by eating carbs and raising your blood sugar which then raises your insulin you may not loose fat. In other words, you can be on Weight Watchers and following their plan and you can loose weight eating less calories then you expend. HOWEVER, if you are consuming too many carbs for your body you will be loosing Muscle Mass vs. loosing Fat.

This took me back to that image I have seen on several news & talk shows where they discuss YO-YO dieting. They show the outline of a human body with bones and fat and muscles inside. Then they show you loosing weight and when they show you loosing weight they show you loosing the muscle in your body and then they show you gaining back the weight and they show you gaining fat. (loose muscle, gain fat) They go on to tell you how unhealthy this is. I hate that image, the shrinking of my muscle the enlarging of my fat (ARGHHH). It represents to me so many failed dieting attempts. Why would I want to be on a diet where i have the potential to loose muscle mass? I want to loose fat.

So that then, pushed me back to: I need to eat less carbs and not worry so much about consuming protein or fat. Since Weight Watchers penalizes you for eating fat and encourages you to eat unlimited carbs, (through 0 point foods) I can not do it. Sorry, sounds like a bad plan to me. So to my friends, if you want to learn to eat better. I suggest tracking your food. I love using It counts my calories in the free version and even counts fat, protein & carb percentages. In the paid version you can track vitamins and minerals and sugar/starch and net carbs and all sorts of stuff too. This is teaching me about what I eat. What nutrients I am consuming, what I am missing out on and exactly how much sugar/carbs, fat & protein I am eating.

So for the last few weeks I have been operating on my hypothesis that there is still a magic number of calories I need to eat to maintain my weight. If i eat more I will gain, or my body will need to expend this energy in some way. If I eat less than that amount my body will lose weight. And if I want to lose fat I need to eat less carbs else I will lose muscle. I have been testing this out by watching exactly what I eat recording my calories, watching my carbs and making observations by weighing and measuring myself. And yes, I am so obsessed I even have a glucose machine to measure blood sugar. This has helped me see what different meals and foods do to me. I have identified some problem foods in my life and have seen that others pass through my stomach without a care.

What have I learned so far? I have learned that for me, this is the way to go. I am happy. I am eating a bunch of good food. My blood sugar is staying rock solid, my weight is behaving wonderfully and I have a ton of energy. I plan on continuing my experiment for another month or maybe two until I have my brain trained. Can I live this way forever? Yeah, I think I can. Will I be happy? Yup.

So what am I saying about Weight Watchers? Well, it isn't for me. I know that for sure. I also think that if you pick Weight Watchers you need to be careful to eat the right food while doing Weight Watchers, point counting just is not enough. I also am willing to bet that a good number of people on Weight Watchers that loose weight are loosing muscle too. So be careful. Be informed. Read. The other thing I guess I missed after re-reading this post is that the other simple thing about Weight Watchers is all their pre-packaged approved meals that make point counting easier are not necessarily that good for you chemical wise. Read the list of ingredients on the back of a Weight Watchers food. Do you know what all that stuff is? Just cause you know the point value, doesn't mean you know what you are eating. But that whole discussion is for another day.

[2011-03-29] -

DAY#371 - Dreamfields Pasta Rocks
I am adventurous and enjoy stepping out on a limb. At least, after assessing the risk. I will say I have been very careful with the consumption of carbs since starting P3 and now, after several weeks of P4, I am not to into consuming starchy carbs or sugar and have been steering clear of bread, pasta, potatoes and sugar-fied things. I have been eating pretty many fruits & veggies, but I seem to have issues pushing the naughty carbs into my body.

Recently, in several locations I have run into this product called Dreamfield Pasta. I had not seen it before the last month or two but the claims on the front of the package sucked me in. The label says 5gams of digestible carbs per serving. However, once I picked the box up and flipped it over the total carbs per serving were the same as regular everyday pasta 41g per serving. So what int he world is a digestible carb? So I had to do some research.

First: I looked ont heir website and it said something like this: "While the total number of carbohydrates is the same as traditional pasta, our patent-pending formula and unique manufacturing process protects all but 5 grams of carbohydrates from being digested. The Dreamfields fiber and protein blend creates a protective barrier to reduce starch digestion in the small intestine. The unabsorbed, or protected carbohydrates then pass to the colon where they are fermented, providing the same health benefits as fiber." I then read a few other posts from people calling it a scam to others testing it out. For more info check out the dreamfield faq

I decided to buy a few boxes and give it a try. Cause if it is true, I may have a great alternative to normal pasta. I found Dreamfields at Weis and bought the regular spaghetti type. This weekend we made a box and our hole family ate it. No one noticed or cared that it was less carb pasta. Tasted, looked and felt like regular pasta to all of us. I had 1.5 servings which is about 1.5 cups cooked, I had some spaghetti sauce with it and ate it as a side with some sausage. So how did i "test" the pasta? Why, with my handy dandy new glucose meter.

Since President Obama is pretty determined to take away our Medical Savings Benefits, or at least cut them off at the knees next year. I decided while I still have some money left to ask my Dr. for a prescription for a monitor and some test strips so I can buy one with my pre-tax money. So now I have a new monitor and I have been using it a bunch I test myself before meals and after meals. I am very curious about how different food affect me. My hypothesis that I have been testing after reading the "why we get fat book" is foods that effect my blood sugar dramatically (which raises insulin) will also be the foods that trigger weight gain. So I have been testing stuff. I have probably pricked my finger 25-30 times in the past week for testing purposes. I plan on sharing more about this later. But for now I can tell you my Blood sugar before eating my lunch was a 95 and after having dreamfields and sausage it went up to 119 within 30 minutes and back down to the 90s within an hour. (I had also read the blog of a diabetic who tested just the pasta and had an even smaller increase in sugar, so maybe the sauce & sausage contributed to my higher number?) From my observation dreamfields did well for me. A small blip on my sugar radar and back off. I plan on using it again.

[2011-03-22] -

DAY#368 - One Year Dr. Report. . . .
Yup I saw the Dr. yesterday afternoon and had a good time. I must say, my doctor usually spends time with me but he was a little hurried yesterday. He was running late, which was unusual for him and I think he was a bit flustered. So the appointment was a bit scattered and went like this:

My blood pressure was up. My blood pressure is always up at the doctor. I work myself into a frantic little tizzy when I go to the doctor. Call me crazy but i can feel my adrenaline kick in about 5 minutes before I arrive my heart starts pumping and it doesn't stop till i leave. My doctor says it is white coat syndrome, pretty much I freak out about going to the Dr. and it raises my blood pressure. However, I should get a good blood pressure monitor at my house and take my blood pressure to be sure. I am thinking about getting this one: Omron BP785 10 Series Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor, Black/white, Large. Any thoughts? (FWIW, I took it two different places today, stores that have machines and it was 127/74 pulse 70 and the next time 124/68 pulse 65. both seemed good to me at least for bo bo Blood pressure machines in the pharmacy section of my local dept. stores..)(

So then we talked numbers, from my blood work. Pretty much I am perfect. My gout numbers are grand: Uric Acid in my blood is a 4.6. Good range is 3.3 - 8.7, at one time I had been a 12+. I then asked the doctor if I could stop taking my meds for gout. They are the only prescription meds I take and i would like to be done with them. He looked at me funny and asked why and I told him I think my gout was weight/bad eating related. I then told him about the book i had read: Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It (Borzoi Books). I even read a paragraph out of it concerning gout and how when we eat too much crap food and our insulin gets out of whack we end up dumping too much uric acid in our blood stream and it can cause gout. So I told him my hypothesis was I am fine. I left that life behind me and my uric acid will be controlled by diet which now has mastered all other test numbers. He agreed and gave me the thumbs up. We will retest my gout number and other stuff in 6 months at our next show down. :)

Other important numbers, my HA1C(blood sugar over time) was a 4.2 which good levels are 4.2 - 5.8. My regular fasting glucose was 79. Cholesterol 185, triglycerides 104, etc. etc. I am in good range on everything. My total Bili was a 2.0 which was high, but I have had a high Bili count for as long as I have had tests and it was been labeled Gilbert's Syndrome which is a benign issue. So happy, happy dance. :)

Before the end of our visit, I gave him my book that I am following and asked him to read it. He seemed fine by that and thanked me. He curiously read the back cover and I told him emphatically I am following this book so in 6 months when you see me my test results should reflect me following this book. Now I have to wait 6 months to see if me and the book are right about life and to see if my doctor even remembers to read it or if he will even remember I gave it to him. LOL.

All in all a good Dr. visit, total validation of my continuing job well done.

[2011-03-19] -


Sunday August 9, 2020 - Day #3800