Category Archives: Weight Watchers

Mostly Food Communities

I have recently ventured back into my old food stomping grounds of Macrobiotic and Vegan toward being healthier. (See recent post)

Looking back, I started thinking about why I got off the Macro program.

In a previous post, I mention that the Macrobiotic diet was too strict. This was not just strict rules of the food do’s and don’t list.

It was also the strict people on the program.

I recall when I left the Kushi Institute to moved to Ann Arbor. I was teaching Macrobiotic cooking classes at Whole Foods and I had a fan.

This woman came to everyone of my classes, asked tons of questions and approached me during breaks and while I was packing up to talk shop.

Then during my dessert class, I used fruit juice to make a vegan cantan (jello) that was sweetened with agave nectar. Macrobiotics are strict about their sweeteners and agave was not on the list.

She called me on it and that was that. During the class break she left and never returned to another one of my classes.

I had broken the strict rules of Macro and I guess in her eyes I was no longer a part of the tribe.

And this is not an isolated experience. I felt judged and like an outcast for not being a perfect macro eater on many occasions from the community.

I suppose this is common. Vegans may do the same thing if they outed me eating a cheese burger.

The thing is we need community.

When you start a new healthy lifestyle, it is easy to feel like an orphan.

Everyone else is eating pizza and steak and we are the weirdos in the corner eating brown rice and spouts.

Of course, we figure that we will eventually find other people from a smaller tribe of folks who eat and think our new way, but imagine that this new tribe is a tough room with strict rules.

We already broke ties with the majority of folks with our new healthy lifestyle. But say if we also feel left out of the small tribe?

That is how me and Emily felt. Although we embraced the Macro diet (for a time), we had a hard time with the strict people.

I also felt this way when I was on Weight Watchers. The community is more flexible, but week after week, from the lectures, I got the message that the folks who strictly followed the program were where it was at. The rewards were from following the program and the shame/failure was from not.

For me Food is more than nutrition. It is about community and being social.

Food is about life.

This brings me to my “Mostly” Food Community idea.

While I probably could not pass for a Strict Macro or Vegan today , there are many things I have in common with these community, but if they are all-or-nothing then I am shut out (or faking in order to fit in).

So I propose the idea of Mostly Food Communities. These are folks like myself who for the most part follow many of the practices of a food community, but are a little more flexible.

They can bring a vegan/macro dish to a vegan/macro potluck and share food and community, but they are not all-or-nothing folks.

A good example of this is my community garden pot lucks. We have meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans, not to mention all sort of folks with various food allergies and personal food rules.

For the most part the offerings are vegetarian with many vegan items. If you want great veggie dishes good to a community garden potluck.

I tend to bring a vegan dish, but their will always be the guy who brings pork ribs or chicken wings. The difference with my community garden potlucks is that no one walks out in a huff because someone broke their food community rule. They simple don’t eat the wings and opt to hit up the vegan tabouli salad and grilled tofu.

The potluck is a mixed food community with tendency to vegetarian.

As for going to a Strict Food Community event, I would comply with the food rules. I mean, I don’t want to be the guy who brought the pork ribs at a kosher potluck.

With that said, I am going to my first social vegan restaurant dinner on Tuesday with a large vegan community.

I plan to eat an all vegan meal for the event, but if asked I will say that I am mostly macrobiotic/vegan.

 

 

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Juicers: A Farmer and Farmers Market’s Best Friend

Ann Arbor Food

Organic Juice

My little brother has been on a health kick for a few years now. He has lost weight and he has started juicing. Above is a picture he sent of his latest juice concoction.

I have a juicer that I bought for my sugar beet project, but I have as of yet, taken it out for a test drive.

The problem with juicing is the clean up and you really need to put the scraps in the compost right away or you will get flies. With that said the fresh juice is worth it.

My brother makes juice from the standards like carrot, and apple, but he also ventures into the green zone. The juice above probably has some kale, broccoli, or where ever green leaves he found out the farmers market. You name it and he will put it in his juicer.

What hit me when he talked about his juicing is how much vegetables he goes through. Without all of that pesky chewing and fiber, a juice drinker like my brother can drink through pounds of vegetables a day.

My brother joked about when he goes to the farmers market and he asks how much kale the farmer has.

“I’ll take it all,” he’ll  says to a shocked farmer.

Usually he buys them out and actually would buy more to satisfy his juice fix.

When I grew micro greens, I would have juicers ask me about them. I actually discouraged them because they are usually eaten as a garnish and they work best eaten fresh and raw. A bag of my greens or a tray for that matter would not make a lot of juice.

But who was I to say. I walked home with bags of greens at the end the farmers market that a juicer would have loved.

I say bring on the juicers to farmers markets. Let them buy up local veggies by the create full and juice to their health.

It is a win-win for the farmer and juicer.

Calling all Farmer’s Market Managers: “Start offering Juicing Demos at your Markets.”

Weigh-in Update: This week(????)

OK. I have not posted for a week.

So what is going on with my weight loss?

Last weeks weigh-in resulted in Plus 2.4 pounds and I did not weigh-in this week because of tornado warnings at the time of my meeting. (true story)

I have been doing a lot of soul searching about my weight loss and Weight Watchers and I am not sure WW it is a good fit.

And that is not just because I have not had big results.

I get little from the meetings themselves and I don’t feel the program provides any added motivation, or accountability.

I feel good on weight loss weeks.

But on weight gain weeks, I get the added bonus of “motivational public shaming” which does very little for me.

It is indirect, but do get looks from the person who weighs me in and they do announce the people who lose weight at meetings, so it is a last chair left when the music stop situation if you gained weight.

“Guess who I did not call this week.”

I can weigh myself once a week at the gym in private thank you very much.

As for the system, I found it to be cumbersome with looking up and writing down everything I eat with a lot of mostly guessing the “Points” for someone like myself who does not eat at chains or packaged foods.

I guess it works for accountant types like a guy who I take a class with you teaches physics at U of M, but it really does not fit my personality.

The whole point is to eat healthy and to exercise and to avoid the junk food, but even the junk food with WW is on the program if you can justify it with the point system.

You can use up all your points for the day on peanut M & M’s and Ben and Jerry’s if you want. How healthy is that?

So WW does little for me to break from junk food, which I feel is a major block towards my weight loss.

And WW does not come out and say it directly, but the program is really, really about what they call the power foods. These are whole grains, lean meats and fish, fruits and veggies, low fat dairy, beans, nuts and seeds and small amounts of healthy fats.

If you eat mostly these foods you do not have to write anything down. They pretty much say as much in the meetings.

But, WW knows most will not eat the “power foods,” so they have everyone factor points and track everything and weigh-in each week.

The “power foods,” for me are basically a throw back to my vegetarian/macrobiotic days with the occasional meat dish thrown in.

That is fine by me.

I used to eat healthy. I know how to cook and I actually like fruits and vegetables.

So where does this leave me with WW?

Their system of trackers and points and meetings and including junk food and weigh-ins provides little help in my opinion.

And my weigh-in results show that.

That is my take on it.

This is not to say I will not eat healthy and work towards my weight loss.

I just don’t feel WW system offers any real help to me in the process.

Weigh in: (up 4.2)

I am up 4.2 pounds???

The deal with weigh-ins is that you want to weigh less or at least stay the same. My weigh-ins have been a roller coaster.

Last week I had a 5.4 pound loss. A few weeks before that I had also had a 5 pound weekly loss only to have gains the next few weeks.

I felt good to have the loss last week, but I felt that it will be followed by a gain while doing the same thing I did the week before.

My weight loss could really only be water weight, which can change from week to week, but does not result is real weight loss.

These big weekly loses followed by big weekly gains makes me question the process or at least the scale. Each week they seem to bring in a new scale.

And being six weeks in I wonder if I will stick with WW or find another system.

I mean I can get a scale and weigh myself once a week. And I feel that WW is simply food journaling and calorie counting in disquising with Points. You still have to look everything or use a special calulator.

Maybe if I had a weight watcher buddy, I would feel better and more accountable.

I have been better at avoiding snacks, eating more fruit and staying away from soda.

But, I am one high weekly weigh-in from being where I started.

Ann Arbor Paczki 2012

It is Paczki Time again and this year I am on Weight Watcher, but I am still going to have one. Weight impact of the Mega-Doughnut, Fat Tuesday mid-west tradition is 13 points (or more).

To put that into a weight loss perspective, the low end of the daily point range for weight watcher is 26. My daily points is 45 because of height/weight.

Last year I got aced out of Zingerman’s first annual Paczki offering. I think they massively under produced making 50-100 dozen.

But this year I got my order in early. To be honest I am usually go to:

Copernicus European Delicatessen

617 S Main St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 222-9633

This year I am given Zingerman’s a try.

They are not as big as the standard Paczki, Cher, the baker at Zingerman’s told me.

If you want Zingerman’s Paczki here is the deal: (Call early)

Call Zingerman’s: 761-7255 (ask for the bakeshop)

Price: $30 per dozen

Flavors:
Chocolate pudding
Ricotta (sweet…like cream cheese)
Raspberry
Plum
Rose Hip

Pick up: at 8:00 am or later on Feb 21 at the bake house

Check out a more complete list on where to get Paczki

Weigh in 229.4 (lost 5.4 Pounds)

229.4, Under 230

It is another big weight loss weigh in. It is the first time I am under 230 in some time.

I see each 10 pound block as a milestone. The next one will be 220. Of course, I can still gain. I gained for two weeks in a row and then loss five pounds twice.

I am averaging over one pound a week, which is my target. Even if there is some ups and downs, I feel go that the one pound average will continue (if I am keeping with the program and if I pick up my exercise program)

 

 

Weigh in 234.8 (plus0.6)

OK.

I am four weeks into kmy weight loss program. After two weeks of slight gains, I am averaging on the low end of an reasonable weight loss, a little over 1/2 pounds a week.

Hey I’ll take it, but…

I guess I was hoping for a quicker weight loss boost in the beginning (first month) considering that I am so over weight with some basic changes like no soda, no candy (vending machine snacks), and more fruits and veggies making a bigger weight impact.

I had a little excitement my second week with a five pound loss result, but most of that has been gained back.

The truth is that I have not been exercising much yet on my program and I am far from perfect with filling out all of my points.

All this means is that I need to step it up.

Update:
At first glance I thought that a 2.5 pound weight loss in a month was small potatoes, but now that I think about it it is not.

If someone told me that 2 years ago, I would lose 1/2 pound a week on average for 100 weeks, I would have been psyched.

About two years ago, was weigh under 220, so a 1/2 pound weight loss could have meant that I would have been at or near my goal weight.

Of course I did not lose 1/2 a week. I actually gains about 15 pounds in the last two years, which is where I am at today.