Thankful for: Noom!

thankful-wall-sign-script-font-gold_1024x1024.pngI started using the Noom app back in July and have lost over 25 pounds since June. I totally did not think I could do that. I have never before used any participatory weight loss mechanism. That said, when my health insurer offered a monthly check-in with a nurse I did find that that was enough to increase my accountability regarding exercise or drinking water. So it was not entirely surprising to me that this app works for me.

Noom includes a weekly check in with a coach by text and a group of fellow Noomers where you can post. That group also has a group coach. Food and exercise logging are a big part of it as is a curriculum on food, weight loss and the psychology of eating and losing weight. It’s not cheap at about $45 per month but it is working. The default calorie level is 1,200 per day on which Noom helpfully points out that most people will lose weight. (Duh…)

A number of factors motivated me to start. One of which was inching towards the top of the Overweight BMI category. Recently I moved into a Healthy BMI for the first time in years. My goal is to move into the middle to lower end of a Healthy BMI for my height.

I feel good. I am enjoying taking in my too large clothes with sewing skills I haven’t used since high school. I ran/walked a 5K recently for the first time in years. Nice to have a baseline if I want to do that again. I have returned to yoga practice and am also using Fitbit Coach for at home workouts as my work-based exercise room is going away. Everyone is different and I am sure this wouldn’t be the answer for everyone but I enter the holiday season grateful that it is working for me.

Nonsense! This stuff makes me smarter…

Rock and Roll McDonald's Screen CapHere’s an obscure reference. There’s a flash movie called “Rock and Roll McDonald’s” that’s from an underground artist in Chicago, now deceased I believe, named Wesley Willis.  (Earworm warning; listen at your own risk.) The scene pictured here from the little movie has a cartoon kitty drinking what appears to be toxic runoff. Warned by his companion about this he comments “Nonsense! This stuff makes me smarter…”  That said, here’s what I’ve been drinking some mornings lately in lieu of breakfast. I follow it in a couple of hours with a morning snack.

12 oz Soy Milk
1 Scoop Whey Powder
2 Teaspoons Instant Coffee
1 Teaspoon Cocoa Powder
25 Drops Stevia Liquid
4 oz Cold Water.

Shake in shaker bottle and voila. No more yawning.

Breakfast of Lunatics

mine's green


Here’s a breakfast that has 224 calories and 25 grams of  protein.

  • 1/2 cup cooked instant brown rice
  • some raisins
  • 10 drops stevia extract
  • 1/3 cup Now Egg White Protein
  • 6 oz water
  • Vanilla extract and cinnamon to taste
  • Spray oil sufficient to coat microwaveable bowl

Mix the protein with the water in a shaker bottle. Spray the bowl wth oil. Put the rice in the bowl. To the egg and water mixture add the stevia and cinnamon. Shake some more. Pour the foam into bowl. Sprinkle the raisins on top. Microwave on 80% for 3 1/2 minutes.

Essentially I have a sweet version of this breakfast–this one–and a savory version which has no spices and 1/2 oz of cheese for flavor.  On that one I add mild salsa. It’s a bit time consuming for mornings on which I am in a hurry but it’s a way to start the day feeling great.

Go, go, go, go: STOP

Green tea leaves steeping in an uncovered zhon...

Green Tea

I tend to exercise at night and in general I’ve evolved a lifestyle that includes go-go-going until I am ready to flip the switch into relax and sleep mode a process which usually does not begin until at least 10:30PM. Of course the body doesn’t work that way. Months ago I began drinking a cup of Tension Tamer tea when I am finally ready to settle down.  I have also tried L-Tryptophan which seemed beneficial though the form in which I was taking it was expensive and when I switched to a cheaper one it was  not as pleasant to use and I stopped using it. One beverage that is always relaxing is alcohol. I would sleep even less if it weren’t for this standby.

I do drink less caffeine now than I did even six months ago. I accomplished this by swapping out routine daytime coffee for green tea which I carry around in a really scary looking water bottle. Green tea is good to drink–Tom Venuto recommends about 4 cups per day–because it contains Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which helps the body use fat as fuel when exercising.  About 15 years ago I actually completely stopped using caffeine when a doctor recommended it to reduce fibrocystic breast disease. I was amazed at what a difference that made. The road back was slow and began with my gateway drug Diet Coke. I am happy to report that I have primarily cut that out of my diet–I used to buy it by the box;  now it’s a “treat.” I don’t know what the research is on this but I have a feeling that it gives you brain cancer.

My current philosophy is that being aware of and reflecting on my habits is important even if I can’t do the optimal thing at every turn.

Straightening out My Thinking

Mashed rutabaga

Explain to me how mashed rutabaga was a recommended photo for this post

I  am a recovered person with “issues” about food. And by “issues” I mean things that cause one to eat for reasons other than being hungry. Like everyone else, I lived what I learned. I grew up around people who had problems with food–used it to meet emotional as well as as dietary needs– and it took a while being out of that environment to stop having them myself.

I started my first diet at about 14 years old and I have watched my mom struggle with her weight over many years. I used to feel like if I didn’t pay attention I might suddenly balloon to great proportions though I know that doesn’t actually make sense.

My spouse of nearly 25 years has a healthy relationship with food and also is has been our primary cook and food inventory manager in recent years. Observing him and just doing what he did over the years helped me to adjust my relationship with food so that it grew simpler over time.

Also helpful has been using my body to do things I like including lifting weights. I can’t say I am there totally, but now I think about what I eat with respect to the goals I have and what’s best for me to put into my body.  Working to transform my body with weight lifting and diet provides a good demonstration of cause and effect. I now understand that you can’t train enough to make up for a poor diet and I anticipate that over time I will be able to come closer and closer to a diet that is optimal for me and for the achievement of my fitness goals. And I can proudly say that now my poor decisions about food stem from lack of self-discipline or commitment to goals and not from any lingering emotional weirdness. Oh happy day.

That Protein Thing You Do

A bowl of cottage cheese.

Cottage Cheese Beautiful Cottage Cheese

So you’ve read the recommendation that you start eating a diet consisting of a gram of protein per pound of lean body mass and that is 30% protein, 30% fat and 40% carbohydrates or even like a successful powerlifting friend of mine 40% protein, 30% fat and 30% carbohydrates. How do you do that?

Since few of us eat this way without making an effort to do so, a good place to start is to get an idea of how what you are currently eating looks like. You can do this by tracking your food. There are a couple of web-based ways of doing that. My favorite is which has within the site “my plate.” I like this site because the food listing is pretty robust and you don’t have to do a lot of data entry. I have also heard good things about  Both sites are free. has an option of a pay program which allows you to set custom nutrition goals so if you wanted to continue to track from a 30/30/40 perspective, you could. Since I am not prepping for a contest I prefer to just get an idea of how the whole thing should look and aim to stick to it in general.

My major sources of lean protein are chicken, tuna, non-fat cottage cheese, powdered egg whites, low fat cheese and whey protein powder. Packing food for the day helps a lot. Most of the fitness diet gurus will recommend eating up to 5 small meals per day. Depending on the number of calories you need each might have, say, 350 calories in it. I find it easier to think of them as large snacks. These are to be eaten at about 3 hour intervals throughout the day. With the whole calorie goal and the target percentages in mind, you need to come up with meals that can be combined on a daily basis and become the building blocks of your daily diet. With a bit of practice you will identify things you like that you can put together easily to take with you for the part of your day lived away from home.