A Sarcastic Chemist's Extreme Weight Loss Chronicle

A chronicle of the journey I am taking to become healthy.

Day Seven-Lunch and Weigh-In

January 10, 2016 by Staci | 2 Comments

Hope you are enjoying your lazy Sunday,

If you are like me I do most of my eating at work. I used to eat breakfast and lunch at the meal cart in an adjacent building, but it was all terribly unhealthy. Not too mention the money I was spending, nearly $75 a week. Now I take my food with me to work, I’ve been doing it about a month and I don’t even miss the convenience anymore. I’m trying to spread out my eating so I have to bring enough for 2 snacks and lunch. I invested in a big lunchbox, it was $15 at target, worth every cent. It’s big, but not humongous and it keeps everything cold even my apples I eat around 4 pm. Plus it’s cute, it’s got birds and chevrons on it. I also went to dollar tree and invested in A LOT of containers. I spent about 10 bucks and got about 30-40 containers in assorted sizes. I really like the small ones I got they are perfect for many things. I typically use 4 of them a day.

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Since I’m trying to eat good for you low calorie foods, that means I need to eat a lot of them. I need more calories than someone 150 pounds lighter than me. That’s just simple science. And I do eat a couple of things full fat, just because I need the extra fat and calories. I know that sounds counterproductive, but every food group is required. The only food type you can completely cut out of your diet and still be healthy is sweets. We need carbs, we need fat, we need protein, we need vitamins and minerals, and we definitely need water.

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In the above picture from left to right in back is 100% apple juice, P3 protein pack*, lowfat vanilla yogurt, granola, lowfat cottage cheese, peanut butter, a hard-boiled egg, and ranch dressing. From left to right in the front is pretzel sticks, grapes, apples, carrots, and a Starkist lunch to go pack*. Obviously this varies greatly, but this is just an example of what I take to work every day. I usually have leftovers instead of the tuna. The P3 protein pack is made by Lunchables. It has 3 varieties of protein in it (P3 get it?), a meat (ham, chicken or turkey), a nut (peanuts, almonds, cashews, even dark chocolate nut clusters), and a cheese (colby-jack or cheddar). These have been amazing as a snack in the afternoon, the only downside is they are a little pricey for everyday. And the Starkist lunch pack has tuna (pouch or can, I prefer pouch because you don’t have to drain it), crackers, reduced fat mayo, sweet relish, a spoon, a napkin, and a mint. I thought it was funny the first time I opened one that there was a napkin and mint, they really thought of it all. Though the spoon is flimsy, so I don’t use it and I dislike mint so my co-worker gets the mint. She really likes mints though so it works out.

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And the last thing I take with me to work but easily the thing I would miss the most, my reusable water bottle. We have several of these at my house and I love them. I prefer the ones with straws for work especially. The ones that have to be tilted like to leak on me, not a good thing for work. I take one in with me on Monday and then I take it home on Friday to wash it. Right down the hall there is a fridge with an ice-maker and water dispenser. It’s new and so great, because my first 2 weeks at my job I had to take the elevator to the first floor just to use a water fountain that isn’t older than I am.  The old fridge had apparently broken right before I started. I also have my caffeine mug for my tea, just as an aid to the planet so I could stop using the styrofoam cups my work provides for coffee/tea.

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Day Five-Grapefruit

January 8, 2016 by Staci | 1 Comment

Happy Friday Everyone!

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Everyone who has ever cooked for me, or eaten a meal with me knows that I am quite the picky eater. But it’s explained by one of my favorite scientists, Neil deGrasse Tyson in this video from PBS. But I’ve never tried a lot of things, especially as an adult. With the whole new world of veggie chips, roasted veggies, and buying my own produce. I am going to start. I used to write off a food if I didn’t like it prepared one certain way. I don’t like raw cucumbers, but I LOVE pickles. I’ve never tried cucumbers any other way but raw and pickled. I didn’t know any better, but looking on Pinterest there is at least a dozen ways to make cucumbers other than raw and pickled.

My current list of approved fruits and veggies are: carrots (cooked and raw only if petites, have to be small), broccoli (cooked), green beans, spinach (raw), lettuce, corn, apples, pineapple, bananas and grapes (red and green). That’s bloody it.

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My unapproved list that I have tried recently and do not like: TOMATOES, celery, onions (except fried. I like fried onions for some strange reason), peppers (raw, need to explore cooked options), peas, brussel sprouts (the smell makes me gag), berries (all the berries, blue, raspberry…), canteloupe, watermelon, and honeydew melon.

I’m always really scared to try new things at parties and such, because I feel like if I don’t eat a good amount of it then the maker will feel bad. I hate the words ‘Oh didn’t you like it?’ No, sorry I didn’t, I’m picky. Eating at parties has always been a stress for me, because I’m so damn picky. I always take something that way I know I’ll have at least something to eat. But more than once has my plate been half full of chips because nothing else looked acceptable.

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That being said, I tried my grapefruit Wednesday morning with my breakfast. Like my mom’s Christmas bowls? I believe I’ve tried it before when I was younger, but I was pickier about textures as a teenager. First I googled how to eat a grapefruit, which I am glad I did. Because it was still a little messy even after using the tricks found here. So it would have been terrible if I had tried to dive right in. Definitely cut a grapefruit before you try to eat it. And I thought it would take longer to cut, but it really didn’t like a minute or so. The tutorial was really good and easy to follow, it was really simple to cut it.

I ate about half of the grapefruit with some Splenda, but I wasn’t the biggest fan. I liked it at first, but then it had a strange after taste. I don’t know if it was that particular grapefruit or all grapefruits. Or if mine had gone a bit bad since it had been on my counter since Sunday. Therefore I will give it another go with a new grapefruit, because I did like the starter taste.

Day Four-Food Tracker

January 7, 2016 by Staci | 1 Comment

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Everyone knows that it’s important to track what you eat, because it’s sometimes hard to remember what you had for breakfast. If you are not a morning person, I hate mornings, then breakfast is a difficult meal. I’m like a toddler at nap time, take a few bites, fall asleep a little bit. Breakfast is a new adventure for me, but I’m really liking the effects so far. I’m not as tired on the drive to work, because of getting that sustenance in the morning. But I digress, back to the topic at hand, food tracking. It is probably every dieter’s least favorite activity. But it might be the most underrated. A dieter tracks their weight, their measurements, clothing size, but food gets over looked. Because you have to do it constantly, but it’s worth the effort.

I admit in my past failed attempts at dieting, food tracking was not something I did, I tried…but usually failed after a day or two and gave up. I found it too tedious, and I just thought I would remember everything. So this time around, I am tracking and sticking to it. I made a planner that works for me, it’s a whole normal sheet of paper. I write big, I can’t help it. I hate when I have to write small, so pocket notebooks and such I would always have to use several pages a day and having to flip around annoyed me. I tried a tracker that was commercially available, but it didn’t fit my needs. It was meant for someone eating a lot less food than I am. The bigger you are the more food you need, not eating enough food can stall your weight loss. Not to mention make you very sick.

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So this time around I made my own. I did it in Microsoft Excel, I love excel, I use it a lot. I have my budget, which is obvious. But I also have a movie list, alphabetized, complete with year, rating, genre and synopsis. I keep my movies in binders so I also have which binder, what page, and what slot listed as well. I had some time on my hands before I got my job, and I was so annoyed with having to flip through 3 binders to find the movie I wanted (I have 600+ movies). The picture is of the organizing process. Once again I digress, sorry.

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Food tracker. I just printed a month’s worth of pages from the excel template I made. Then, I put them in a binder with a calendar of January on top, and then a quick, simple design sheet in the front cover saying what it is. I know it’s not convenient to carry around a binder, but I like my paperwork neat and in order. I can’t stand paper clutter, I constantly file or pitch papers I don’t need. I also hate having to search for what I want. In school I had binders for every subject, plus each binder had at least 5 tabs. So January is in my binder now, then I have a separate larger binder that will be my archive where I’ll keep all the old months, tabbed of course. It’ll be good to have further on down the road just to track where I started.

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At first I was printing the pages and then gluing them into a composition book for easier portability, but it was a hot mess so I ditched it. But I did use it, so I’ve been tracking since November. I wasn’t so great towards the end of December though, I admit it. I started the binder on Monday and so far it’s working out well.

Now for something other than food tracking. I am loving all the feedback I am getting from my family, friends and strangers. I get so excited over new comments, it’s bad. So, I’m going to work on setting some things up this weekend. And I was wondering what I should add and take away. So any suggestions you have that you think this site needs or what it doesn’t need feel free to comment. I love constructive criticism. My twitter username is now in my contact me page it is @sarcasticchem. I’m thinking about attempting to be more twitter savvy. Also I am going to create a Facebook page so people can follow me that are not on my personal Facebook account. I’m not going to do a newsletter, yet. Yet, being the operative word there. I want to do a little more research into newsletters. Pinterest will also come at some point down the line. Right now I’m pinning to my personal Pinterest page, so my friends on Facebook and Pinterest can follow that board.

A big thank you to everyone reading this, I can not believe all the positive feedback I have received already. And it’s all been positive! I’m shocked that I haven’t gotten any mean comments. I’ve gotten some spammy comments that I deleted, but no mean ones. I was scared to put myself out there like this, but it’s been a great motivator so far.

Day Three-Chicken Herb Bake

January 5, 2016 by Staci | 1 Comment

Hey everyone!

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I’m going to make a change of plans in the post layout. I think new recipes would be better to post on Tuesday and save the new fruit/veggie for Friday. Mainly because I haven’t gotten the chance to try my grapefruit yet.

So I totally spaced and did not take any pictures of my meal tonight, nor did the recipe book have a picture. So I am terribly sorry for no pictures. I thought about taking a picture of the leftovers but I thought better of it.

Tonight I made chicken and herb bake, (supposed to be creamy herb pasta bake, but I forgot the cream of chicken soup. Did not need it, delicious without it). So the cookbook I got this from is called Grandma’s Kitchen. I bought it at an Ace hardware store in Iowa. There was a little sub-store of knick-knacks and other odds and ends inside the store. And well this cookbook was one of them.

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Ingredients (according to the recipe):

Olive oil (enough to have thin coat on the bottom of the skillet)

2 to 3 boneless chicken breasts (cubed)

8 oz package of fettucine (I used linguine, but I suggest a penne or rotini since it’s baked)

1 jar spaghetti sauce

1 can diced tomatoes*

1 can cream of chicken with herbs soup**

1 cup shredded mozzarella

1/3 cup italian bread crumbs

1/3 cup grated parmesan

Saute the chicken in the olive oil  in a large skillet. Once cooked add the tomato sauce, soup*, tomatoes*, and cooked/drained pasta. Transfer to a casserole dish then sprinkle the mozzarella on top first and then top with the breadcrumbs and parmesan. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes* or until golden brown and bubbly. Or so the recipe says (paraphrased of course).

I added everything into one big skillet first because I like to be kind to my father who does the dishes. If you read my first post you know I have an extreme hatred of tomatoes, so they did not go into my meal. I didn’t know cream of chicken with herbs existed, but I found it very easily at the store. That being said it is still in my pantry because I forgot to add it. My oven tends to cook things faster, but even so it was done in 15 minutes that not just my oven. So, be advised don’t set the timer and walk away, make sure to check it. I was glad I did. I also added some minced garlic to the olive oil when I cooked the chicken, just how I’ve always sauteed chicken. I don’t know exactly how much, like a tablespoon.  And the important part the things that made it healthier include reduced fat mozzarella and whole grain linguine.

Verdict: It was really delicious, and I typically don’t like marinara dishes (again tomatoes suck). Even my picky eater of a mother (worse than me), went for seconds. It will definitely be made in this house again. Maybe I’ll try it with the soup next time, I’ll put an update if I do.

Enjoy the hump day tomorrow!

Day One: Weigh-In

January 3, 2016 by Staci | 501 Comments

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I started this diet back in November before Thanksgiving, and in the first week I lost 14.6 pounds. YAY! But then Thanksgiving hit and I gained back 4.4 lbs. After that I didn’t weigh in again until just now. Over the holiday season I lost most of that weight back except for about a pound. I started at 392.4 lbs, I know, I know. I feel your judgement through the computer keys. Today I weighed in at 379.4 pounds, so I’ve lost 13.2 pounds so far. I’d say that’s pretty good, for really only trying for a week. Especially since I would have sworn I gained it all back over the holidays.

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Many people are saying new year, new me. But I mean business, I can’t live like this anymore. In November when I started it was because I had gotten some bad news from my doctor. It was no longer a matter of ‘if’ I would get type 2 diabetes. It was ‘when’. So I had to change. I had edema in my legs, the tight skin was itchy. I was miserable. If I put my jeans on first, I cannot put my socks on. I can barely touch my shins when I bend over. I’m in some serious trouble.

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At my weight, I’m sure a lot of people are wondering why I don’t just have gastric bypass surgery. Well several reasons, I don’t want to take the easy way out. And I don’t want to have to restrict myself EVERY single day to an egg at a time. But also, I can’t afford it. So I am trying to lose weight by diet and exercise. I know this will be a difficult journey, but I’ve had difficult journeys before.

Also I have an incredible support system. My whole family supports me in this and will help me however I need it. My sister in law has also battled with her weight and she lost a lot of weight a couple of years ago. Then she had twins and gained only some of it back. So she’s dieting with me. Plus my father is diabetic, he lost enough weight to not be on medication, but he’s since gained quite a bit back. So he’s dieting with me as well. And since I just got out of grad school and just found a job, I’m not quite on my feet yet so I’m living with him and my mom. So pretty much what I eat he eats (I’m the main chef in our house). And every Sunday we will be having family weigh ins. Accountability is key to a successful diet in my opinion.

Here are the mandatory before pictures. I feel like a teenage girl right now. I just did my hair and makeup solely for a selfie session in the bathroom. In my defense I only took about 8 pictures instead of 25 or something ridiculous. I started to suck in like I normally do for pictures, but I was like nuh uh, this is a before picture, gut out and it makes me cringe.  I usually see before pictures with no makeup, bad hair and a frown. But I have terrible resting b***h face, I hate pictures of myself where I am not smiling. So I wanted pretty pictures even for my before ones. Also side note, I tried the beauty trick were you put your hair in a ponytail and then curl it. SO EASY! I don’t think I’ll ever curl my hair the other way again.

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The Challenge

January 3, 2016 by Staci | 31 Comments

Weight loss advice is a dime a dozen. Do this trick lose 50 lbs in a week. Follow this program and loss 200 lbs in a month. It’s sensory overload. I’m stripping it down into something simple. I am NOT a weight loss expert, on the contrary, I am someone just starting on their weight loss journey. I have tried losing weight several ways, nothing has worked. They were too complicated or allowed for too much wiggle room. I am taking a very low key, easy approach this time around to start with. I understand that I’ll need to be stricter when I hit plateaus and get closer to my goals. But for now, simple it is. My plan is as follows.

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Eat more protein, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. Sounds so simple, right? Not when you eat very little at home presently. This is going to be a complete over haul in how I eat. Instead of eating carbo-loaded meals from restaurants or ‘gasp’ drive-thrus, I’m going to have to start cooking at home. Now I know how to cook, so it’s not the worst thing ever. I just like the convenience of not cooking. But my waist-line, does not agree with my brain.

However, I want to make very clear that I will be eating carbs. Carbs are an essential part of a human’s diet. Without carbs our bodies purely use stored fat for energy. Great, right? Wrong. Consuming only pure fat for any extended amount of time will lead to a condition called ketoacidosis. Read more about it on WebMD here. It’s the build up of ketones in your body. It’s basically poisoning yourself from the inside. This is something diabetics especially need to watch for and there are pee test strips to measure ketones at most pharmacies.

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Processed foods.  I will be trying my absolute best to buy nearly everything from the outer rim of the grocery store. This outer rim is where all the fresh meats, dairy and produce are typically located in most grocery stores. Another daunting task because I am a picky eater. A VERY picky eater. I only currently like a handful of fruits and vegetables. So every Tuesday, I will challenge myself to buy a new fruit or vegetable to try for the first time. This will not include tomatoes. I HATE tomatoes. I can not stand raw tomatoes. I can stomach them cooked, but raw makes me ill. Did I mention how much I dislike tomatoes?

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Also every Friday I will post about a new recipe I tried that week. I have a very limited number of meals I actually know how to cook. But my mother has an extensive collection of cookbooks that are gathering dust so I will be breaking them out.

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And possibly the most difficult thing I will do is cut out my beloved Diet Dr. Pepper. I am a huge fan of diet soda, I love the stuff. But it can be just as bad as regular soda, though it doesn’t have the calories, it still has similar effects on your body. My number one concern about drinking diet soda-it makes you crave sweets. And I am cutting those out, completely gone except on special occasions. Cake at a birthday party, maybe. Cake on a Tuesday while watching NCIS, nope, I don’t care if it’s a ‘healthy’ cake. None, zero out. I have a major problem with sweets, it’s a snowball effect. Have one cookie, ehh what is 20 more? Cold turkey approach to sweets, don’t have them around, won’t think about them.

Those are my building blocks. The bare minimum things I will try to do. I’m not going to limit myself to 20 foods. Nor am I going to spend a bunch of money on cartons to perfectly portion out every bite. For now there will be no counting of anything involved. Just pure and simple watching and tracking what goes in my mouth. LET THE HUNGER GAMES BEGIN!