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It's Not a Mickey Mouse Diet!

Disney A Disney vacation is a great thing and I lost a pound while I was there! I also had a personal best while training for my 5K. Of course it was fun (except for the puking kid on the bus), and just what I needed.

Here's why you should go on the Mickey Mouse weight loss plan...

- You don't need to cook.
- Goofy makes you feel good about yourself.
- You look cool in 3-D glasses as long as no one knows it was at the Muppets 3-D show.
- You don't have to shovel snow!
- You don't have to clean the bathroom.
- You feel nostalgic for something good.
- It is hard to lose stuff when it is all in a suitcase.
- You can run whenever you want. (I got lucky, as they were hosting The Princess Half Marathon. Belle kicked my a$$.)
- There is a heated swimming pool and hot tub.
- Space Mountain (roller coaster in the dark) is as good as any fiber tablets you can purchase.
- Water is easy to find.
- Telling your kid it's not real so she won't be scared.
- Having your spouse say Test Track is nothing compared to driving with you.
- You only have to give a high-4 to Mickey Mouse.
- You feel sorta of thin around Eyore and Winnie the Pooh.
- You need to walk about 10 miles a day.
- The little one sleeps soundly...
- You can probably outrun Dumbo.
- Catching the animal poachers.
- Pinocchio tries to play "steal your nose."
- They have the good kind of fireworks.
- There is always someone else's kid having a worse meltdown than yours.
- Splash Mountain is awesome until you see your scared little face on the picture monitor.
- My daughter saying, "If Tinkerbell is big, she isn't the real one."
- You feel like a kid which is OK.
- Indiana Jones!

Well, that's all I could think of.

Thanks for the votes and comments.

The Rules of MFP Success

If you are new around here, welcome. Now here are the rules of success!

Losing weight is easy, I do it every time I clip my nails. As the New Year's resolutions fall by the way side, it might be time to regroup and get back on track!

-1 Schedule your workouts like you would a gynecology appointment. You may not want to go, but you need to take 30 minutes 3x/week to move as much and as fast as you can.

-2 Log all your food and set your activity levels properly. If you can't count, Google easy math. ;)

-3 Try eating your exercise calories as recommended. It might NOT work, so try not eating them! Just don't make another post in the forums about it!

-4 Weigh your food portions. I suspect you didn't get to where you are by not knowing how many grams/ounces a rib eye steak weighs!

-5 Get rid of all the junk foods and trigger foods in the house. I will even let you log this as Cardio exercise, "Cleaning with Maximum Effort!"

-6 Take pictures now, you'll be glad you did. If you are serious, take some ugly fat pics! 50 pounds from now you'll be glad you did.

-7 Use the tape measure often and the scale sparingly. If you are doing the cardio, some weeks your weight is going to move around.

-8 Plan for success - know what you are going to eat as far in advance as you can. A flight plan will save a lot of complaining and looking for sympathy on the news feed. :)

-9 Visit your favorite restaurant sites NOW, and make a list of suitable meals at each of them. You really can get out of most places with a 400 calorie meal if you plan for it.

-10 Never make excuses, it's your life. :)

Thanks for the votes and comments. I really am going on vacation!

Top 10 Things to Give Up For Lent, or Forever!

Some of us have a religious upbringing, and at the very least we have learned from the news about sacrificing something for Lent. Now that I have run out of teenagers and livestock, I had to put together a new list.

The principal of sacrifice is to give up something that is meaningful to you, which; reminds you of the atonement. For some it's booze, others it is treats, and some swearing at the TV. You may not have made up your mind, so here are a couple of thoughts.

-1 Tebowing: Though it might make 2012 New Words List for Webster's American English Dictionary, that fad is over. You can now sit on your a$$ in the end field crying like Tom Brady.

-2 Diary Lying: Is that all you ate? Come on! And remember, omission is the same. Log it!

-3 Board Bitching: Posting stupid rants to inflame others on the message boards. GTFU!

-4 Worshipping the Scale: The scale is a false God, I suggest the true religion of the tape measure!

-5 Posting Before Searching in the Message Boards: People, you are not the first one to try losing weight using MFP. Yes, you should eat your exercise calories! No wait, don't! I mean just half of them!

-6 Making Excuses for Overeating: It's your life, how about emptying the junk from the house, buying healthy food for the week, and planning for it too? Going out to eat? Just about every restaurant has a dietary menu. You should bookmark them in your smart phone.

-7 Incomplete Statuses: You know the type, just enough info so people will ask you what's going on? IE: "I can't believe I ate one!" What? Are you allergic to peanuts, is that why you couldn't finish the post? Or, "I am going to kill somebody!" As long as it's you, I guess I won't call 911. "I know somebody who slept with Obama!" Other than, Michele?

-8 Posting Toilet Cleaning as Cardio: There are some things you need to keep to yourself.

-9 Weighing In Every Single Day: Makes you nuts, right?

-10 Paying with Pennies: It makes people mad who are waiting inline behind you!

Thanks for the votes and comments. See you after vacation!

Over 60 Lost, and a Few Gained (with pics)

Well, February 24th is the first anniversary of the current weight-loss journey. I do believe it will be my last time around the barn. I started out not having done much of anything but sit in an office chair since I injured my foot in 2004. It took 7 years for it to heal!

I started with a YMCA class, In It To Lose It. It was tough getting started (more on that HERE). But I kept with it, cut the calories as best as I could. I didn't really know much about eating, but I had followed a Dr. Phil plan the last time, which seemed to work. The problem was that it was all about losing weight, not about getting healthy.

Diet can change your weight pretty quickly. I suppose the exercise helped. I lost 32 pounds by April 4; the day I suffered a heart attack. (more on that HERE). I lay in the ICU for a week. My daily exercise included walking about 300 yards and sleeping 15 or 16 hours per day. I persisted and by the end of April, I was walking 1 mile two times a week and then three. 7 weeks after the heart trauma, I was allowed to push my heart rate to 130 BPM. That is a fast walk at best, but I got a heart rate monitor (HRM) and did it.

3 months later, sometime in June, I was allowed to go to 150 BPM. I began running again: 1 mile 3 times a week, then 4 times a week. I love to run!

I ended up running 2 miles 7 days a week!

In August I got up to run my usual 2 miles before work, and slipped and tore the meniscus in my knee. I kept running in spite of the pain, icing it, and taking Motrin by the handful. I limped along for about a month and finally went to see a surgeon. He had me ride a bike for 4 weeks (most of October), and then asked me to take 4 few weeks off. It was horrible not running.

I also started to work with a nutritionist last fall, and changed a lot about the way I eat. She upped the calories, cut the sodium, and made meal suggestions for me. I gained some weight, especially with the 4 weeks off. I hit the gym hard and did upper body cardio, pedaling a mile using only my arms. I worked the core, and did some body building - still it's not running.

Finally I decided to have knee surgery before Christmas.

4 weeks after my December 8th surgery, I started ice skating, which is even more fun than running! I have pretty much been on the ice about 4 hours a week since. Add to that 2 cardio classes at the YMCA and I am doing pretty darn good!

A few weeks ago I was released to start running again, and I am. Just 2 times a week. (That is 6 workouts a week!) I am training for a 5K on March 25th to celebrate my recovery from the heart attack; it's an American Heart Association event. I only want to finish, but I am shooting for a 25-30 minute time.

I have had a number of NSVs (more on that HERE) lost inches in the waist; down to 34 from 40. I eat much better food than I ever did. I have logged on to MFP and kept my food diary for about 9 months. It's actually become a way of life for me. I am a lot of MFP frineds, and few have crossed over to being real friends. :)

Oh yeah, and I lost a few pounds too! Here are the pics:

That's me at 276 pounds. Summer 2010

That's me at 214 pounds. Summer 2011 

I am not at my goal weight, but I will get there. What I want is to be at a weight where I don't have to take the BP meds (197), I can play hockey a few times a week, ride 40-50 miles with my wife on a weekend, run an occasional 5K, and stop spending time thinking about being overweight!

Thanks for the votes and comments. I will be on vacation next week, and probably won't be posting a blog. Enjoy!

The Top 10 Aphrodisiac Foods for Valentine's Day

Today is the day which Cupid unloads his quiver of love drunk arrows on mankind. Ever since Santa lost weight, he's been moonlighting as the Little Love Archer. Today in his honor, I am going to write about food, a popular topic her on MFP. You would think that we would be better off talking about something other than that which so easily besets us.

According to AlterNet, there are 10 foods that should increase the odds of you getting lucky. And today is the day to stop practicing, and mate!

Here is my anecdotal take on the top 10:

-10 Asparagus: I don't know what's in there, but I like 'em. As far as sex goes, I'm not thinking that my wife will appreciate the fiber, you know what I mean? Apparently they boost the production of histamine which helps with orgasms. I dunno, maybe if you have a cold it can help too. I think the best thing they have going for them is their shape. Possibly if you had a long enough one you could use it for a whip.

-9 Almonds: Now we're talking. I love almonds. If they were liquid, I would take a bath in them. Instead of tequila I think you can use them for body shots. I guess they were fertility symbols at one time. I am thinking without nuts, there isn't much chance, you know? The article says that it works best on woman; probably why I don't know

-8 Avocado: The Aztecs called the avocado ahuacuatl, or "testicle tree." After you stop laughing, think about all the uses it the pit might have. I think we are done talking about avocados.

-7 Bananas: The banana is no stranger to sexual activity. I was at a party once - never mind. Apparently if you eat them it increases the male libido. I think when I was a teenager it worked. I still eat bananas, but I guess I am immune to their effect now a days. I'd probably have better luck if someone else would eat it and I watched.

-6 Basil: Now I really like basil in my food. It is common spice in my house. But when it comes increasing the desire, I never thought of keeping a shaker of it in the bedroom. I guess the only drawback is if my wife says, "What's the in your teeth?" Until then, I think we'll stick to Channel No. 5.

-5 Chocolate: I am with you on this one. I like chocolate so much I would have sex by myself.

-4 Figs: Figs make me think of camels, and camels make me think of spitting - it's not working for me. And besides, Adam and Eve covered their privates with fig leaves. That's like having kids banging on the bedroom door.

-3 Garlic: It's good for your heart and your blood flow; it's the Viagara of the natural world! Now guys, if you can get someone to get close after eating it, you might be in luck. My wife said it would probably be better if I mowed the lawn and took out the garbage.

-2 Oysters: Anything that looks like the flu is suspect. I will admit, that this is my favorite food ever, and I am going to check to calendar to see how lucky they made me! I can assure you that it is not sushi. I put in a little extra wasabi in the soy once, and my wife lost her contact lens as it cascaded down her cheek. That was not lucky.

-1 Honey: Well, it is supposed to increase hormones which make us want to rip our mates clothes off! The problem at my house is that I can't get the stupid cover off it once it has been opened and we lose the desire if I have to go shopping.

I don't know about you, but I am going to take my chances with flowers, chocolate and a thoughtful card, right after I take out the garbage.
Thanks for the votes and comments! 

Getting Your Butt Out of a Rut!

The honeymoon for the resolutionists is over.
And the gym floor is not so much under cover;
February maybe for lovers,
But the weight loss prize is for doers!

It's hard to keep motivated, but it's all true.
Keeping this going is tough if you're new.
This is no time for whiners;
In fact it's even hard for us long-timers.

You can probably tell I am tired this morning and the new puppy seems to keep us all up. I am sore from skating all weekend too.

I was looking at my 5K training goals and feeling a little behind. Then there is the cardio class fitness test and weigh in tonight. I am not motivated, and staying in bed, if it were an option, would have been my first choice.

The good news is that I have made this a habit, and blowing it off ain't that easy. I only have 2 more classes left in the current session. Then I have 2 weeks off while I go to Florida. I will continue training in Orlando and getting some good long walks at Disney.

I am looking forward to some warmer weather!

So, as I approach the first anniversary of this journey, one where I started at 276, here is what I do to stay motivated.

- Schedule all Workouts: They are in my calendar, and we schedule life around them. Currently I have cardio/strength class 2 times a week, I train for the 5K 2 times a week, and I bike or skate with the family at least once.

I have 2 gym memberships, so I get a change of scenery. In the nice weather I just go outside.

- Log Into MFP Daily: I have lots of friends, and some of you have been with me since the beginning. Two or three times a day, I comment to everyone on the page that got out there and worked out, took a walk, and yes, even cleaned the freakin' living room. I occasionally check food diaries of those that I have time to.

- Change it Up: If I am honest with myself, it looks like running is going to be a treat. It takes 2 days for my knee to recover from a 2 or 3 mile run. So, I bike, I skate, I walk, and I use the elliptical most of the time.

After I run the 5K in late March, I am switching to hockey 2 times a week, and probably some biking with the family in the spring and summer.

My cardio is different every time I hit the gym or put on a pair of sneakers. I read that after about 6 weeks of the same exercise, our bodies may in fact, burn HALF the calories we did in the beginning. It's the fastest way to find a plateau.

- Knowledge: I read a little bit each day, and I am taking a nutrition course online. I don't really want to be a personal trainer, but I want to be the best one I know for me.

- Food: I change that up too. I work from the super foods list I posted a few weeks ago, and I have mixed in an occasional protein shake. I change brands, I upped the protein and cut the carbs - even the good ones. I try hard not eat the same thing every day. I admit it, I suck at that.

- Music: I change up my exercise playlists pretty often. I even wrote some of my own tunes to run with!

- Measurements: I take them every month and I am seeing changes! Well except for that, but I did get some email about some pills that work wonders. I'll keep you posted.

- Pictures: I wish I had taken more in the beginning, but I am getting ready to celebrate 1 year with a new set. Probably only going to share them with my wife. ;)

- Gadgets: I like the HRM and stuff like that. I love my Noom/Cardio Trainer program app on my Android. It's Bluetooths with the scale and the HRM.

- Sex: I has a way of... never mind.

- Laugh: I work hard at making my wife and kids laugh. Life is worth living, but it can become a drudgery. I laugh at adversity and now that I am healthy, I can really see it's value over the last year.

What do you do to stay motivated?

Thanks for the comments and votes.

Well, That's What the Doctor Told Me to Do!

Last year I had 4 significant medical events. There was the heart attack last April, the torn meniscus that was repaired with surgery in December, and two suspicious lumps in between; both of which are now gone! The insurance company spent a tad over $58,000 to keep me alive and healthy. For the $15 grand I paid in premiums and co-pays, it was the best investment I made all year.

Now that I am immune to the smell of latex, and have spent 2 weeks or more occupying a medical office naked, I have had more than a few instructions on how to take care of myself.

Here is $58K in medical wizardry for free:

Sleep: Resting from workouts is important, but sleep is your weight loss friend! It is also good for your heart, and lots of magical things happen when you are counting sheep.

Stretching: I run with a guy from the office 2 times a week. At 33, 21 years younger than I am, he jumps on the treadmill and rips out 2 miles at 6 MPH. I need to warm up for about 5 minutes, then I do some stretching. According the surgeon who got about 5 grand this year, stretching might have helped me avoid one injury. My trainer insists on it, and that's the story. Just don't stretch cold muscles.

Vacation: Some days we need a break; life is hectic for many of us. Kids don't like schedules, work wants more hours, and in between we have a million errands to do, workouts, shopping... Vacation renews the soul, it's time.

Diet: You can tell yourself it's OK to eat whatever you want, but cumulative consequences of over indulging in anything eventually add up. Find foods that decrease the risk of serious medical conditions.

Stress Relief: I confess, I suck at this. I needed to learn to take a deep breath. I need to learn what is too much, and for a guy with one busy brain cell, I overload easily. I find time for me to relax, to pray, and just plan nothing.

Use My Mind: 50 was a shocker, I think. I can't really remember, but somewhere around there my brain was full. I can remember phone numbers from my childhood, but can't get milk on the way home without a calendar reminder and a text from my wife to remind me to read the reminder. The good news is that I have to create new things every day at work. The math can be challenging and the logic is more of a challenge. It's a good way to keep brain cell uno busy, because he is freakin' lazy. It mostly means shutting off the gadgets and doing a little thinking.

Fitness: That's why we are on MFP.In my Sports Medicine training class, they continually say you have to "move it to lose it." That means heart rates up at 130 or above for extended periods of time.

Sun Block: Both my parents died of cancer and both had skin cancer. My brother has it now. I take it seriously. But If I was any whiter, I wouldn't have a pulse; that may be part of the problem. ;)

Sun Glasses: Apparently I have the same problem with my eyes. BTW they do look less like road maps of Rhode Island now that I don't drink. I actually like my sunglasses so much I wear them inside - I think they call them Detox Glasses.

Seat Belts: It's rare that our first responders unbuckle the dead. Anyway, thought I would pass it on from my primary care physician.

Faith: We can live a little over a month without food, a few days without water, a few minutes without air, but few of us can live a second without faith.

Well, short of icing my privates, that is pretty much the advice the doctors gave me in 2011.

Thanks for the votes and comments - you guys are fantastic!

Celebrating Time with that Special Someone - YOU!

I think it's safe to say we've all been in love at least once. Lovers celebrate anniversaries.

I had a favorite girl back in 9th grade. At the time, she was my world. I saw her on Facebook the other day; I contemplated asking her to join MFP - we didn't end well in '72. I decided against it; there is no reason to start off badly! But, yes, she does look fat in that dress - and last year I would have too!

I used to mark the days we were together on the calendar. After it was over, the calendar was a sad reminder of all the milestones we passed together. Soon 10th grade rolled around and there were new freshman girls looking to date a guy on the hockey team and I quickly forgot.

MFP is like dating, and anniversaries are important!

Thanks to the amazing mind of CessnaHolly, we have today's topic! Here is my list of milestone anniversaries.

1 Day - all your friends post WTG! on your profile and you don't have a freaking clue what it means. Remember, if you can do it for a day, you can do it for a lifetime. Celebrate by getting a tape measure.

1 Week - You give yourself a cheat day because you think you are different. You saw the commercials, you can eat anything! If you made it a week, rent a movie!

1 Month - This is the get serious anniversary! Some of you survived the TOM and some of us didn't. But you should get yourself a new food scale.

2 Months - This is the "insure your future success" anniversary! Now that you are on the path, you should request gifts from others for your success. (Men, please take a hint, it's good practice for remembering something besides game times.) You'll be needing a gym membership, some home workout equipment or a good heart rate monitor (HRM).

3 Months - this is the paper anniversary, so get yourself a gift certificate to a pampering type place and celebrate the changes!

4 Months - This is the music anniversary. Time to purchase some new tunes to get you a$$ down the road or on the treadmill. Eye of the Tiger is a staple!

5 Months - This is the gadget anniversary - how about a new iPod, a FitBit, or a nose hair trimmer?

6 Months - This is the appliance anniversary, how about a smoothie maker or a food vacuum sealer!

7 Months - This is the make-it-or-break-it anniversary! It's time for some running shoes, and a registration for a Walk, Run or Crawl 5K.

8 Months - This is the shake it up anniversary! You could be really board by now. How about some new workout DVDs, a Wii Fit, Zumba, The Biggest Loser or Gold's Gym.

9 Months - This is the cloth anniversary and it's time to get some new clothes - or at least workout clothes! For God's sakes man, we'd hate to see you lose your pants in public!

10 Months - This is the showoff anniversary! You should be looking pretty good by now, so get some good pics and post a Success Story. Or get a pole dance kit, but don't post the pics!

11 Months - This is the gratitude anniversary. Start planning something special to celebrate your continued success. Get a new bike, a treadmill, a swim spa, take a vacation and make sure you go have a good cry - you are doing it!

1 Year - This one is huge, and you aren't anymore. Celebrate by doing something you couldn't do before. Run a race, climb a mountain, go skydiving, by a new wardrobe, and share it with us!

What do you do to celebrate your weight-loss success?

Thanks for all the votes and comments!

Foods that Are Not as Healthy as You Might Think

You may have read Dr Seuss' Red Fish Blue Fish, but did you ever ask yourself how they got to be that color? Never mind the green eggs and ham.

I bet, like many, you have fallen pray to food advertising. There are lots of commercials on TV that are meant to give us the impression that certain foods are good for us, good for weight loss, all natural, organic or healthy in some way. The truth is, there are few guidelines for what manufacturers can call "good."

You need to read the freakin' label (RTFL)! It is not about calories as much as it is about ingredients.

I just want to say I am not a health food or organic fanatic, however; when you get to be my age, some of the wear-and-tear of unhealthy food consumption becomes more apparent.

Here is my list of foods I thought were going to help me lose weight, get healthy and look like Arnold.

Breakfast Cereals: Cereals that are made from whole grains are the best. Even some of those have sugar, salt and  chemically based minerals.

I prefer to make my own breakfast sandwich; Whole wheat mini-begal, a poached egg and a piece of salmon with a slice of cheese. I also eat a few cups of Kashi brand cereal each week for the high fiber - because fiber makes me more manly in the men's locker room.

Yogurt: There are so many choices it's mind boggling. First, non-Greek yogurts are not as healthy as Greek yogurts. Second, many of the no- or low-fat ones are loaded with sugar, and they toss in a little fruit to make you feel good about eating it.

My favorite is plain Greek yogurt; it's an acquired taste. I use it in place of sour cream, and I add my own fresh or frozen fruit, granola, or a squirt of lemon or lime juice.

Even among the better known brands such as Chobani and Fage, you still need to RTFLl! Beware, the other yogurt manufacturers are getting in on the deal, and it is harder to make good choices.

One question, when was key lime pie or cheesecake healthy? When it was yogurt! Right.

Bread: Whole grain or whole wheat really means almost nothing on a package. Dark bread can still  contain trans-fats and carbs, which; can keep you from obtaining your weight loss goals.

I like Ezekiel bread, but I limit to a few slices a week if that. I also eat whole wheat mini bagels and Joseph's flax & oat pitas.

Sandwiches: It is hard to make a healthy sandwich. As I already stated, too much bread, even the good stuff is not the best use of your calories. Add to that processed meats such as turkey, ham, and other cold cuts, along with dressings, and the potential for disaster awaits. If you are going to have sandwiches, think half, and find a soup or suitable nutritious companion.

You can substitute Greek yogurt with a little vinegar for mayo, and hummus or goat cheese make great spreads. Then plop on some spinach instead of lettuce, a little tomato and onion... aren't' you hungry?

Fruit Juice: Can you say added sugars? Many, with the exception of pulp retained juice (which I think has a weird texture), offer a fraction of the value of the real fruit!

Water is your friend!

Frozen Diet Meals: I find nothing wrong with frozen fruit and vegetables. It is the dinners from the diet chains and so called "lean meals". First, most are filled with sodium. They may be 400 calories, but they lack whole grains, and many have processed meat and the wrong sort of carbs.

It's best to cook and freeze leftovers that you have carefully chosen the ingredients for.

Sports/Energy Drinks: Caffeine, sugar, and possibly some electrolytes, but not much else. It is best to fuel up for your workouts with some carbs, and replenish your body with protein when you are done. (Some folks say carbs after - no argument with me).

If you are a long distance runner or bicyclist, there are some other considerations, just not your average sports and energy drinks.

Fast Food Salads: High calorie dressings; many with sugar, croutons made with white flour and poor quality vegetables and even fried chicken - diet ouch! You are probably better off ordering a double cheeseburger!

Granola/Protein Bars: Good granola bars consist of healthy oats and sometimes nuts. The problem is what they are held together with. Some bars even contain chocolate chips which makes it a candy bar.

Cheese: This is another one that can make or break your weight loss. There are some cheeses that are low in fat, and low in sodium. Goat cheese is probably the best choice. Again RTFL!

I can assure you that Cheez-Its are not on my list!

Diet Soda: They contain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. Just do a little Googling.

Water is great, and sparkling water with a twist of citrus or other fruit can make it a little more interesting. My friend at work drinks it with cucumber and mint.

OK, so what are you eating that you are certain is good for you?

As always, I am humbled by the votes and comments.

Friends and friend requests are the life blood of MFP, so send one if you like.

And if you are looking for super foods, HERE is my list!

Conflicting Advice - Caution Experts at Work!

Well, MFP is filled with advice, some of it is truth, some of it is questionable, and some of it is downright stupid!

People, what are you thinking?

I keep reading these stupid message boards, and it seems that every one is an expert (I really am! Did I tell you I was getting a nutrition certification?) You know what an expert is: "ex" something that used to be, and "spurt" a fast acting drip.

Do you think we can agree on a few things?

Healthy Food: Not made in a lab. This goes for supplements too. Some synthetic stuff is useful, but not guaranteed to be healthy. IE: Splenda, aspartame, latex (I said useful)

Processed Food: Cold cuts, ham, turkey breast - there is lots of sodium and other things in there to preserve the food. When you are talking about items like bread, chips, hot chocolate and Twinkies, there is a lot to be concerned about. Fillers, additives and preservatives are not your friends.

Did you know, eating processed meat every day can raise your chances of pancreatic cancer by as much as 30%? Processed flour products from bread to pizza are carb wasters and will not make losing weight easier.

Exercise: Purposfully moving your a$$. The more the better, the faster the better-er. I read a study about the Asian culture/diet and why they are not all sumo wrestlers. It is because of motion - continuous motion. Walking instead of driving, working instead of sitting (to work). Of course as they adopt our way of life - sitting in front of the TV or the PC nibbling away, that will change.

Cardio: This is when your heart rate is above 120 (130 by some standards). If you walk, it needs to be close to 4 MPH. Riding a bike, you need to be up around 7 or 8 MPH.

Calorie Counting: This is a place where there is a wide range of formulas, and calculators. MFP is just one. There is no perfect way to know how many calories you burn short of metabolic testing!

These tests will tell you how many calories a day you need at rest (no activity-base metabolic rate BMR), and working out at various levels. The tests, use equipment like EKGs, a Respiratory gas mask, power meters, etc; and measure the gas that you exhale in order to determine what chemical reactions are happening inside your body at certain activity levels. From this they can calculate how your body is actually consuming fuel and oxygen, etc. Very exact, very scientific, IMO, very cool!

MFP, SparkPeople, even your HRM are average estimates based on average people. Me, I am well above average, and I suspect you are too. ;)

I tweak my MFP burns to match my HRM. It knows if I was screwing off yapping with the trainer or punching out an 8 minute mile.

That my friends is why there is such a debate of whether or not to eat your exercise calories.

The real issues is this: Muscle is metabolically active, fat is not. So get rid of the fat and build some muscles. (I didn't say become a body builder!)

Those are the big things you need to wrap your mind around!

Here are some other items that MAY work for you (doesn't mean they work for everyone!!!).

Daily Caloric Intake: I read a message board where the poster got information from their doctor that was different than what MFP told her. In fact is was contrary to what works for me. I have a doctor, a trainer and a nutritionist and a candlestick maker. I hate to inform you, this is not a science that is always logical, or easy to understand. Look Dr. Atkins and Dr. Phil don't agree.

I do not believe there is a standard one-size-fits-all for your height/weight, gender and age. My friend Daryl eats more than me, and he is as skinny as a rail. He is also 2 years older than I am. Last time we had pizza I smacked him up side the head because!

You need to find what works for you. And even that will change. I rocked it losing 5 pounds a month eating pretty much whatever and keeping it to 1200-1400 calories. Then the plateau came. I ate more, exercised more and gained more. I switched to higher protein, and the scale is going the other way. My friend John sent me a message to say he tried that it and doesn't work.

Macros: The balance between protein, carbohydrates, fat, fiber, sodium and cholesterol. MFP measures all of these. High protein works for me, and may not work for you. Hell, most folks that eat salmon lose weight faster than those that eat the same amount of beef calories.

Supplements: There are all sorts of claims for every imaginable vitamin, and supplement. For example, Glucosamine and Chondroitin work for me, but 60% of those the use it, can't tell. I know, I'm a psycho - well, with knees that feel great!

Some of these mineral levels can be measured with blood tests and you can try supplementing the deficient ones if you can't get it with food.

Add to this, zigzagging your caloric intake, cheat days, and it will make your head spin.

For me, I am eating the calories for the weight I want to be, which is about 1800 per day. I set them manually.

Here is what I do know. A healthy diet at YOUR correct caloric level, coupled with exercise will make you healthy. You will lose inches, and your heart will love you as much as I do. :)

Thanks for the comments and votes. Have a good weekend!
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