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377th Friday Blog Roundup

Updated with name of app (see below)

I have been putting off going to see my general practitioner for a yearly checkup because I’m afraid of what she’ll say about my eating habits/lack of exercise.  I’ve stopped running for the time being while I’m trying to finish a manuscript, and I’ve always eaten like crap.  Josh has pointed out that these problems still exist whether or not I see the doctor, so I might as well put on my big girl panties and go for my annual physical.  He has also pointed out that her word isn’t G-d; she is there to make suggestions, but it’s up to me to make decisions about my overall health.  Through a strange turn of events, I ended up on the phone with her nurse, and while I was talking to her, I made an appointment.

Then I promptly freaked out.

I cannot add exercise back into my life at the moment and keep my sanity because there is nothing else I can give up, timewise.  Which left my eating habits.  So in one day, with the help of my friend, C, who is doing this with me (and I seriously could never have gotten started if I wasn’t IMing with her non-stop throughout the day every day about every morsel of food passing between our lips), we have overhauled the entire way we eat.  I downloaded an app that tracks what I’m consuming and the nutritional value of those items, and I only eat what is in my food budget for the day.  I am such a numbers person so this is perfect for me.  I see what I have to spend, I see what I need to buy, and I try to ensure that I have some room for savings.  I am eating no processed foods with the exception of Kashi granola bars (I did a comparison of all granola and powerbars based on protein, fiber, sugar, and cost, and Kashi came out as the best option).

I am already obsessed with this app: keeping it neat, filling it out, trying out different food combinations to make the best nutritional plan for the day.  I am very proud that I have started this on a week when I have a cold and my period.  There, I’m going to say it completely immodestly — I am so damn proud of myself for changing the way I’ve eaten for the last 10 years.  For not giving in to the siren song of Yogiberry and choosing to reward ourselves with Legos instead of food.  That it isn’t even about weight loss (well, yes, it is, but you know what I mean) — I feel healthier.  I go through my day feeling better.  I feel like I’ve accomplished something huge.

And now I have a question, and I’m sure someone knows the answer: I am going over in the sugar category, but almost all the sugars I’m eating are coming from fruits and vegetables.  For instance, I went over 20 grams of sugar yesterday, but the culprits were blueberries and a sweet potato (okay, and a yogurt, but I have to finish these Wallaby yogurts before I switch to the lower sugar Greek yogurt AND I can’t give up the yogurt because it’s my breakfast protein).  At the same time, I’m way under my carb limit.  And my fat limit.  How bad are sugars?  Should I be limiting my fruit intake in order to get under that sugar limit?  Or should I only be concerned about sugar if we’re talking refined sugars, baked goods, candy?

App: The one I’m using is MyFitnessPal.  It operates a lot like the Weight Watchers app, except it’s free.  Plus, you can access it online, on your blackberry, your iPhone, iPad, etc.  And it has that cool scanner function.


Speaking of food, I was obviously amused by this:

Even though I wish I could edit it (the repetition wasn’t necessary).  Plus, people don’t say, “passing on the left” as much as they either say, “stand right!” or stand behind you on the escalator sighing very loudly.  But the best part of this is what I finally learned the name mumbo sauce, something I’ve eaten my whole life that I didn’t know (1) was a DC thing though in retrospect, I can only think of one place I’ve seen it outside of the DC area and (2) had a name.  I’ve always referred to it as “the red stuff.”  When I heard “fries with mumbo sauce,” I Googled it, realized that the sauce had a name, and then said, “I never thought to put that on fries.  Damn, that would be good.”  I am a Marylander at heart, so my fries are always smothered in Old Bay.  Not that I’m eating French fries anymore.  Since, you know… the whole change in eating thing.  So I’ve learned the name mumbo sauce too late since I won’t be partaking in any of the foods that go with mumbo sauce for a long while.  Or the mumbo sauce itself since I’ve always suspected that it can’t be very good for you.


And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week as well as the week before.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

I loved From IF to When’s post about politics and your body.  Seriously, how can you not stand up and cheer when you read: “There is never shortage of debate about how and what women should do with their bodies. Yet, the argument for equality in women’s healthcare compared to men, or in women’s healthcare compared to other women (e.g. infertility coverage) is minimal. Politicians would rather tell me what I can and cannot do with my own body than give me equal access to medical services.”  The post is a great rallying cry, especially with an election coming up.

My Lazy Ovaries has a very honest, powerful post about choosing between donor eggs and living child-free.  They are both of two minds about the decision and she admits: “Sometimes I feel like I’m focusing on the crappy parts of parenthood, just so I can convince myself it’s OK not to want it, to make it hurt less to not have it.”  But this is the part that really floored me: “But this is what infertility does to you. It makes you question every little thing in much greater detail than you ever have before, in a constantly repeating loop.”  The questions she asks can only be answered by Slackie O and her husband, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t read the whole post and ask yourself the questions too.

IF Crossroads has a post about the future.  I loved the opening of this post because I too spend an inordinate amount of time thinking ahead, planning things, wanting to know “what’s next.”  Or maybe I loved it because I am also in a state of organizing and cleaning at the moment because it makes me feel as if I’m being proactive, as if I have control over my world.

Lastly, Bionic Mamas has a confessional post about reading birth stories, and how she feels when she reads about another person’s experience.  I’ve read a lot of posts explaining why a person feels emotional reading about someone’s success when they’re still in the trenches, but I feel like I’ve rarely encountered the ones where we admit that it’s hard to read breastfeeding posts if you can’t breastfeed, or read about a full term birth if you have a preemie, or whatever your trigger or longing may happen to be.  It’s just an honest post.

The roundup to the Roundup: I have changed the entire way I eat.  Please answer my question on sugar, carbs, and fat.  I learned the name mumbo sauce.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between January 20th and January 27th) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.


1 Josey { 01.27.12 at 9:13 am }

I use myfitnesspal to track calories, and I’m also constantly under carbs (but often over fat, since I love avocado). I think you hit it spot on – if you’re over in sugar b/c of healthy foods (fruits and veggies!), I wouldn’t be concerned. That’s what I feel about fat – I’m often over a bit because of foods that contain healthy fat (like avocado)…a bit in my omelet, on my salad at lunch, on my taco at night… it adds up. 🙂 It’s good to REALIZE how much sugar you’re eating – and hopefully it will just keep you cognizant of how important it is to NOT be getting additional refined sugar from any other foods in your diet.

As far as the carbs thing goes, their ratio of carbs/fat/protein is a guideline, but based on if you’re working out more or less, that would change what ratios you should be eating in. For example, if you’re lifting and running and building muscle, you’ll need more protein to help rebuild that muscle. If you’re someone who reacts sensitively (high and crashing lows) to carbs, you might want to lower that level. Most calorie tracking apps just give you a guideline of where to start, and you can adjust it to your own personal body.

Overall, a+b=c (move more + eat less = weight loss)…as long as you’re not dipping your cals TOO low and shocking your body into starvation mode so that it starts holding on to everything.

Moderation in all things. 🙂


2 Esperanza { 01.27.12 at 9:16 am }

Okay, I’ll get this over with and request the name of the app. Congrats on overhauling your diet. That is a huge accomplishment! I need to do the same thing soon and I am quite partial to an app doing the heavy lifting for me.

Thanks for the comment on my post yesterday. I appreciate it.

3 A.M.S { 01.27.12 at 10:07 am }

Yeah, I’d like the name of the app too. And the unprocessed sugars in fruits get evened out by the fiber in the fruits and veggies to a certain degree (since you are eating whole fruits and not drinking juice as your fruit). You do want to try to boost your carbs with lots of fiber-rich options because the fiber offsets the sugars and it helps keep you nice and full so you don’t start looking for “just a little something.” Unless you are dealing with a condition where you have to really manage your sugar intake, the benefits of the fruits so make up for the sugars. I learned when I was having to test my blood sugar after every meal that things like bananas and oranges would send my sugar through the roof. Sweet potatoes caused a smaller bump and if I ate them along with something like black beans and brown rice it was an even lower bump.

Good luck!

4 electriclady { 01.27.12 at 10:26 am }

Agree that sugars from fruits and vegetables are much less of a concern than refined carbs. I would focus on bringing up your healthy fat intake rather than trying to bring your sugar intake down much more. You might find that, calorically, foods rich in healthy fats (avocado, nuts, olive oil, fish) end up replacing some of those higher-sugar foods.

5 It Is What It Is { 01.27.12 at 10:39 am }

Honestly, on the fruit issue and sugar, you will get varying responses depending on who you ask (and why you care about sugar (re: is their any underlying metabolic issue, etc.)). I’ve been a WW for almost 2 years and in late 2010 they revamped their Points program to look at the major nutritional components of a food – fat, carbs, fiber, protein. How they stack up in any serving of a food affects the food’s PointsPlus value (& members have XX points to use each day, so you have to decide how you want to ‘spend’ your points). However, where on prior WW plans, most fruits had a Points value, on the new program fruits (even bananas) have a PointsPlus value of 0. The hope was to encourage folks to reach for fruit vs. a nutritionally void snack (& recognize that most people did not get fat on apples, berries, or even bananas). However, for a lot of WW, their weight loss slowed, some significantly. It is still unclear if the culprit is just the overall increase in calories per day by eating but not ‘counting’ fruit or if there is a greater negative affect of the fructose in fruit on metabolism.

It isn’t entirely accurate to say that the fiber in fruit negates the affect of its sugar. I would say to you that you need to continue experimenting to see how your consumption of fruit affects your appetite and as you add other fiber dense, protein rich, low fat foods to your diet, how that changes your current fruit consumption. For now, the change is a good one, so I would not worry too much about going over, but in the long run you will likely find that the 5 servings (and take note as to what constitutes a serving) of fruits/veggies/day won’t put you over in the sugar category.

Good luck and BRAVO on making this monumental life change.

6 a { 01.27.12 at 10:53 am }

There are some differences between simple sugars and refined sugars and complex carbohydrates, chemically speaking. Nutritionally speaking, I think people tend to equate all sugars and I doubt that’s an accurate way to do things. I suspect that if you’re counting sugars and eating your RDA of fruits, it’s merely a caution to stay away from unnecessary sources of sugar (i.e. baked goods).

And this one was a thought provoker…

Also, this one:

7 Ana { 01.27.12 at 10:57 am }

So there is some emerging evidence that sugar is worse for you in terms of metabolic health than other, complex, carbs…even the sugar in fruits/veggies. Your body processes it differently and much less efficiently because our ancestors weren’t exposed to very much sugar (even fruit was a rare, seasonal treat).
I’ve met Robert Lustig (the doc mentioned in the article & on the video) & heard him speak; his research is pretty compelling.

I definitely need to clean up my diet. I’m blaming all my cravings and binging on breastfeeding right now, which may be true, but its me and not my baby that is getting fat!!

8 Josh { 01.27.12 at 11:38 am }

Two words: MUMBO SAUCE!

9 Lollipopgoldstein { 01.27.12 at 11:40 am }

Mumbo sauce is much more concise than saying, “that red stuff. You know what I’m talking about. The red stuff that you sometimes give me with the egg roll. The red stuff. Yeah, that, the red stuff.”

10 EB { 01.27.12 at 12:18 pm }

Congratulations on the change in eating!! I decided several months ago that my husband and I were eating like kids who only liked specific foods. I started cooking more vegetable dishes and making my own things rather than buying them in the store (pasta, soup, considering trying bread). The husband resisted at first, but now he’s on board. I think we both feel better and have more energy now that we’re eating less processed foods.

I guess “stand right” or passive aggressive sighing is nicer than the New York way of doing it — just pushing you over to the right.

11 Melissa { 01.27.12 at 12:50 pm }

I think any healthier change in diet is a great thing! I wouldn’t sweat the healthy sugars. At least with those natural sugars you’re getting other good stuff in the form of vitamins and whatnot also into your system. Keep up the good eating!

12 Jendeis { 01.27.12 at 12:54 pm }

When I was at Weight Watchers, people in the meetings would really have dilemmas over how many points they should count for a carrot or an apple, if it was small or large, or whatever. Here’s what the group leader said, “Are you here because you ate too many apples?”

Cut yourself a little slack girl. You are doing great and I am proud of you!

13 Jessica { 01.27.12 at 1:37 pm }

Eating good and healthy is best when focusing on whole foods. Which is why all those processed and refined foods are bad for you. Fruits are whole foods which are good for you. Yes they contain sugar but they also contain a lot of other good things for you. And sugar is not bad for you, like a previous commenter said, all things in moderation. If you are eating whole foods, the sugar you get from fruit will not hurt you. I would say the only people who would ever have to worry about eating too much fruit is someone with a health condition, like a diabetic.
Thanks for the roundup 🙂 I like reading them

14 Jessica { 01.27.12 at 1:41 pm }

One more thought. I was having a similar conversation with my mom the other day and we were talking about calories and weight loss. Basically to lose weight there has to be a negative count of calories at the end of the day, pretty sure everyone knows that. Something most people miss though is the quality of the calories you are eating. I asked if it was possible to eat too much fruits and vegetables to where it would upset the process of losing weight and the decision was made that you would get full from all the fruit you eat before it had a negative impact on you. Okay I am done 🙂

15 JustHeather { 01.27.12 at 2:28 pm }

I agree with the sugars in fruits is so much better than processed sugar. And it’s fruit, you can’t go wrong there. Good for you for changing your eating habits, Mel!

Here’s a post I really liked this week: http://stillseriously.blogspot.com/2012/01/guilt.html

16 Gail { 01.27.12 at 3:19 pm }

My husband’s had a lot of success with My Fitness Pal. He and I are both lifetime Weight Watchers members (or working on getting back to lifetime goal weight) and he had hit a wall and couldn’t lose anymore with WW, so his trainer at the gym suggested calorie counting. He has lost 6 pounds in 2 weeks and is looking great!

Good luck to you!

17 Geochick { 01.27.12 at 4:18 pm }

I like myfitnesspal too. unfortunately sugar is sugar is sugar. but at least fruit has fiber and vitamins/minetals. i say don’t sweat it for now. goog luck!

18 Geochick { 01.27.12 at 4:19 pm }

Good luck. *eye roll*

19 Erica { 01.27.12 at 5:20 pm }

I had my annual checkup yesterday and was (gently) admonished about my weight and diet and exercise habits. They also drew two vials of blood and gave me two vaccinations, so I’m glad it’s over with.

I may look at My Fitness Pal. Right now my exercise time is nonexistent unless I take time during my lunch hour at work. I miss my long walks, but I need to stop eating like I’m still taking them.

20 Katie { 01.27.12 at 5:41 pm }

I admire your dedication. Fattening food has to be my biggest weakness. I could go to the gym every other day (and I do), but I can’t pass up a good stuffed burger on the grill or an order of nachos. I don’t eat like that every day, of course, but probably still more often than I should. (I’m writing this as I’m looking up where we should order pizza tonight. Agh! I feel like a fat ass.)

Thank you for posting my blog. 🙂

21 Mali { 01.27.12 at 10:02 pm }

I agree with all the previous posters. Don’t beat yourself up because you ate too much fruit! You sound as if I could take a leaf or two out of your book. And exercise? Well, you can increase your movement just around the house – stand up and move around during phone calls, going up and down the stairs more often, that sort of thing – these actually do make a difference.

22 Jessie { 01.28.12 at 1:17 am }

I tried using MyFitnessPal, but I’m WAY too ADHD to track anything for more than about 3 days (which is better with MFP than I was doing with the paper trackers, which was about 2 days).

All right, Maryland girl, do you put vinegar on your Old Bay fries?

I loved this post from Chickenpig comparing her feelings about her IF situation to a toddler smack in the midst of the Terrible Twos: http://chickenpig-betterfullthanempty.blogspot.com/2012/01/toddler-inside.html?showComment=1327563496552#c5285319998836483806

23 Magda C { 01.28.12 at 9:12 am }

Delurking to recommend a video I saw recently from a doctor who boils down all of the nutritional and medical research into a bunch of recommendations for our diet. I wish I could say I immediately revamped our eating habits, but so far it’s just been little steps:

24 Pearl { 01.28.12 at 1:54 pm }

Seeking to control my PCOS symptoms, I took out all starch and simple sugars from my diet except one portion peer day (for example, if I am having a yogurt that has sugar in it). I allow myself all the vegetables and fruits I want (except the starchy ones, i.e. bananas or potatoes) and that has worked very well. Be careful with labels. Stuff that does not contain “sugar” will still contain other carbs, such as fructose, or cane juice or apple juice. My rule of thumb is to check the total amount of carbs, subtract the amount of fiber from that, and go by that number.

25 Mic { 01.28.12 at 3:12 pm }

Thank you for including my post in the roundup. I don’t blog as much as I once did, and this reminded me that I still have a voice and something to contribute to the ALI community.

26 Slackie O. { 01.28.12 at 8:04 pm }

Thank you for the love. That was one of the hardest posts I’ve written, and probably the one that took the longest to get out of my head and then sat the longest in my drafts.

Good luck with the eating changes – I love MyFitnessPal! I’ve lost 10 pounds with it so far… only 10 more to go.

27 Meghan { 01.30.12 at 12:06 am }

I started using MyFitnessPal the week between Christmas and New Year, and I’ve lost 16 pounds so far. My husband is using it, too, and he gets crazy about adding in all his exercise. I haven’t managed to work exercise into my schedule yet, but the accountability ALONE is awesome. I’m insulin resistant, so I’ve tailored my calorie use into a neat carb/protein balance. So far, so good–and a total justification of the smartphone :). Good luck!

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