Wednesday, February 29, 2012

10 Tips for Surviving the 17 Day Diet - Part 1

One of the hottest trends in dieting right now is Dr. Mike Moreno’s 17 Day Diet.  This low carb/high protein diet has been featured on shows like Dr. Phil and The Doctors.  I learned all about Dr. Moreno’s diet by reading his book titled, appropriately, The 17 Day Diet

I have to admit that I have no specialized training that qualifies me to write about the subject of dieting.  I am not a doctor or health care specialist.  All of my experience about diets and weight loss comes from the school of hard knocks.  I have been following the 17 Day Diet for about 4 months now and have lost a satisfying 67 pounds.  Dr. Moreno’s diet is simple, straightforward and effective.  Here are my top 10 tips for anyone about to start the 17 Day Diet.

1. Plan your snacks.  This seems simple and Dr. Moreno talks about it in the book, but no amount of talking about it can be as harsh as being caught unprepared.  Planning two or three snacks per day can be hard, especially when we all go places where there are few healthy alternatives readily available.  Early on in my diet I was caught at work or on the road with nothing to eat and no place to get anything remotely healthy.  Diets are about change, and one of the biggest changes you can make is to be prepared with healthy eating alternatives.

2. Prepare enough protein to have leftovers for lunch.  Like most diets, the 17 Day Diet promotes salads as a healthy meal.  Take it from me, if you try to eat a boring salad every day for lunch you won’t be on this diet for very long.  I have found that one of the best ways to make a salad more interesting is to add chicken or turkey.  Prepare enough dinner the night before so that there is a leftover chicken breast.  Dice the chicken and put it in a Ziploc bag so it is ready to grab on the go. 

3. Get your family on the diet.  Just the other night, I was watching a television show where the father was on a diet but the rest of the family wasn’t.  There was gravy being poured and butter being spread but not for poor dad.  Not until his cholesterol came down.

This is why most diets don’t work.  You can’t surround yourself with high calorie foods and expect to not be tempted.  What’s the best way to avoid high calorie foods?  Get everyone around you on a diet too. 
I can honestly say that if my wife weren’t on the diet too, it never would have worked for me.  I do feel a little bit bad about having the kids on a diet.  They still get enough to eat.  It’s just more chicken and vegetables with less pizza and fried tacos.

4. Avoid eating your kids' snacks.  If you have kids you’re going to have snacks.  Expecting children to completely give up a tasty treat just isn’t going to happen.  You need to have snacks for the kids that you won’t eat yourself.  Whether that is a certain type of graham cracker or a booger flavored jelly bean, don’t buy anything you can’t say no to.

One of the worst snacks I ever got for the kids was a bag of yogurt dipped pretzels.  The bag didn’t last very long and I don’t think the kids got any pretzels.  Now I keep things like store bought Rice Krispy treats, something that the kids like but that I can turn down.

Continue reading tips 5-10

10 Tips for Surviving the 17 Day Diet - Part 2

One of the hottest trends in dieting right now is Dr. Mike Moreno’s 17 Day Diet.  This low carb/high protein diet has been featured on shows like Dr. Phil and The Doctors.  I learned all about Dr. Moreno’s diet by reading his book titled, appropriately, The 17 Day Diet

I have to admit that I have no specialized training that qualifies me to write about the subject of dieting.  I am not a doctor or health care specialist.  All of my experience about diets and weight loss comes from the school of hard knocks.  I have been following the 17 Day Diet for about 4 months now and have lost a satisfying 67 pounds.  Dr. Moreno’s diet is simple, straightforward and effective.  Here are the rest of my top 10 tips for anyone about to start the 17 Day Diet.

Back to tips 1-4

5. Greek yogurt.  Find a brand of Greek yogurt that you like and keep a stash in the fridge.  Greek yogurt has twice the protein as regular yogurt and it is thicker and more filling too.  I like the Yoplait flavored Greek yogurt.  I know that the flavoring adds some carbs but it’s just going to have to be okay.  They have a key lime flavor that is just to die for.

Having turned you on to the yogurt I have to put out a little disclaimer too.  According to Dr. Mike Moreno, you shouldn’t be eating certain things after 2:00 pm.  These things include high sugar fruits like apples and oranges as well as dairy products. 

I know he is telling the truth because about a month into the diet I had developed the habit of eating a Greek yogurt after putting the kids to bed.  At about the same time I noticed my weight loss had slowed to a crawl.  When I gave up my late night yogurt the weight loss picked back up and now I avoid eating yogurt after 2:00 pm.

6. Find a diet friendly restaurant.  It is infeasible to think that you are going to go weeks or months with never eating out.  At most restaurants you can find something that fits into the framework of the 17 Day Diet but some restaurants are definitely better than others.  My favorite, diet friendly restaurant is Genghis Grill.  This is a Mongolian barbecue where you pick the protein, the vegetables and the starch.  I like to go at lunch so I can get the brown rice as my starch (before 2:00 pm and not on cycle 1).

7. Cheat (a little).  Following Dr. Moreno’s rules you will definitely lose weight.  I had to modify a few of the restrictions in order to maintain sanity while continuing to diet. 

I can’t stand plain oatmeal.  If you can, great, but I need something to offset the oatmeal flavor.  I have found that the Quaker packets of flavored oatmeal taste great in the morning and don’t break the diet by too much.  My favorite flavor is ‘cinnamon spice.’  Try a few and find out what your favorite flavor is.

Find some low fat blue cheese.  Before the diet I wasn’t a fan of blue cheese.  Now I am lots more interested in adding flavor to my food than in maintaining prior prejudices.  I especially like a little of the crumbles on my salad at lunch.  This way I have chicken and blue cheese covering up the lettuce flavor on the rest of the salad.

Sometimes you just need a snack.  Skinny Cow ice cream probably doesn’t fit in the diet in a strict sense but when I need something tasty this does the trick.  I don’t know how they make an ice cream bar for around 100 calories but I’m sure glad that they do.

8. Have a diet buddy.  Whether it’s someone at work or someone in the neighborhood, you need someone with whom to share your success.  I had an experience with this just last year. 

I had decided to work up to riding my bicycle in to work.  It took a while to get to the point where I could ride the eight miles to and from work and still function all day at my job.  During this period I learned that someone in my office was an avid biker.  Most days we would stop and chat about my progress.  Even though we weren’t on the same skill level, it made me feel better to talk to someone about my progress.  Being able to share my accomplishments with someone made me want to make more of them.  The same is true with weight loss, having that external support makes the personal trial of following a diet that much easier.

9. Find a variety of dishes.  As human beings we have a tendency to get stuck in a rut.  Before the diet, I used to have pizza once a week.  Now that I am following the 17 Day Diet, I want to keep the same predictable behavior but healthy food gets boring faster.  Variety is the spice of life and having a large selection of diet friendly dishes makes it a lot easier to stick to the diet.

10. Build on your success.  It seems that whenever I talk to someone who has lost five or ten pounds on a diet I have to talk them into sticking with it.  I suppose I must have been the same way in the beginning.  When you’ve only lost a few pounds it is easy to think about quitting.  Losing weight is like saving money, it happens a little bit at a time over a long period of time, it’s little baby steps all in the same direction.  Now that I’ve lost 67 pounds it’s hard to think about quitting.  I’d be giving up too much to quit now.  Keep going until you have too much to give up too.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Noah's Ark Cantina

When we started looking for a house in Denver we hadn't been looking for very long before we found this in the basement of one of them.  I don't know what the original purpose was or why you would need a window through a half wall with a fake cedar shingled roof but there it was.  We called it the 'Noah's Ark Cantina.'  If Noah had a bar on board for the animals I imagine it would have looked like this.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Fireworks - Moroni, Utah 2005

I don't know why it is so hard to catch something as awesome as fireworks in a decent photograph.  This isn't my best fireworks picture (it isn't the worst either) but I wish it represented a more clear image of the explosion of burning metal and flash powder. Someday I wand to have a giant fireworks show for my birthday.  We'll have it at the lake house over the private dock (if we're dreaming we might as well do it properly).

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pikes Peak

The view from Pikes Peak inspired Katherine Lee Bates to write the song "America the Beautiful."  After living in Colorado for seven years, Pikes Peak is the only fourteener (fourteen thousand foot mountain peak) we ever visited.  I'd like to say we climbed it but that would not be an accurate description of our 50 foot walk from the parking lot to the overview.
On a clear day you can probably see Kansas and Nebraska from the top of Pikes Peak (no exaggeration).  On the day we visited we were lucky to see the road on the way back.  I suppose it still counts as 'fog' even if you are at fourteen thousand plus feet above sea level.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Open Field

Open field of green on green
Beautiful place to see and be seen.
Grass so soft and sky so high
Lots of room to run and fly.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Wedding Flowers

My wife made this flower arrangement for a friend's wedding back in 2004.  She worked at a flower shop during high school and I have always been impressed at her ability to make beautiful bouquets.  It's sad that there isn't anything in this picture to give it a bit of scale.  This particular arrangement was made in a gigantic crystal bowl.  The image does no justice to just how big it really is.  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Colorado Rockies - Opening Week 2007 - Coors Field

Some friends gave us their tickets to a Rockies game during opening week 2007.  I think that this was the second game of the season (we weren't good enough friends to give up opening day tickets for).  It was early enough in the year to still be a little chilly even in the middle of the afternoon.  It was a great excuse to get out of the office and spend a few hours out of doors.
I remember thinking after the game that we should get season tickets.  The official Rockies site listed season tickets at slightly less than a per game ticket price (it would be cheaper to buy season tickets than to buy tickets for each individual game).  After that, I looked up season tickets for the Denver Nuggets basketball season.  Nuggets season tickets were slightly more than individual ticket prices (I guess you pay a premium to have guaranteed tickets to every game).  I figured I was on a roll so I looked up the Denver Broncos next.  The Broncos didn't give a price for season tickets.  They said the wait list had 25,000 people on it ahead of me and that average wait time was 10-15 years for season tickets.  I guess they thought that I would be willing to pay any price for Denver Broncos Season Tickets, and that was before they got Tim Tebow.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Denver Snow - 2009

I love the shapes that snow makes when it falls on top of things.  The ledge on the leeward side of the car is a unique testament to the direction of the wind during the storm.  This wasn't the biggest snow storm we got while we lived in Denver, but our daughter was one year old this winter so ordinary things became extraordinary.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Late Last Night

Late last night, at half past ten,
I left to slay a dragon.
My favorite horse I harnessed to,
My magic little wagon.

Over hill and under dale,
We raced with no abandon,
On the tails of the wind,
We pursued that desperate green-toothed dragon.

A traveler on our way we met,
A luckless man named George.
A blacksmith who had lost his home,
His thatched roof hut and forge.

Invite him in, I said at once,
To my faithful meerkat Barry.
One more to fight that beast,
To thrust and chop and parry.

And so at last we came that night,
To the monster devil's lair.
My throat ran dry, my knees went weak,
I stood with all my hair.

A monstrous roar escaped the cave,
I knew with no deception
This beast would tear my soul in two
If given provocation

I turned my head to run away,
To fly and run and hide.
George grabbed my arm and said to me
"I'll get that dragon's hide."

He took my sword and shield,
My helmet, socks and shoes.
He marched into that demon's lair,
And faced his source of woes.

The flames were bright,
The mountain shook.
The battle raged for ages.

And then at last the thunder stopped,
We knew what had occurred.
When from the cave a man appeared,
My new-found, best friend George.

On sleepless nights when we go out,
To fight in some adventure.
We always stop to pick up George,
To keep us safe from danger.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Steve Jobs Stanford Graduation speech 2005

I love this speech by Steve Jobs.  There were so many things in his life that didn't go according to plan.  This is a man who was an orphan who almost wasn't adopted, dropped out of college, was fired from a company he founded, escaped one cancer scare and eventually lost his life at a young age.  His outlook on setbacks and disappointment is truly inspiring.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Carnival Towel Folding Surprise

I promised a humorous conclusion to the towel folding story a while back and here it is.  While I was busy learning to fold towel animals, my wife set about photographing the event.  After a minute she started tugging on my sleeve.  When I looked up I was met with this sight.  YIKES!
I thought towel folding would be a 'G' rated event.  What makes it worse, is that this lady isn't a day under 60.  Granny thong was an unpleasant surprise.
We tried to be covert about taking pictures but soon this poor lady had half a dozen amateur photographers working on her backside.  I don't think that she ever noticed all the attention she was getting.  It would be good if it stayed that way.  Hopefully, none of the amateur photographers were her grandchildren.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Avalon Sail Boat

I have always loved sail boats.  The freedom of moving without an internal combustion engine, the solitude of open water.  What could be more relaxing.  This particular boat was in the bay at Avalon, California.  Avalon is  one of the places that I would love to spend more time exploring.  The town was quaint and had friendly residents but I was only there for a few hours.  Next time maybe I can spend a few days visiting downtown Avalon or perhaps even spend some time on the water in a sail boat.