Saturday, January 30, 2010

Drive -Thru Dieting

Chicken Supreme Burrito from Taco Bell.Evan Sung for The New York TimesChicken Supreme Burrito from Taco Bell.

The words “weight loss” and “fast food” aren’t often used in the same sentence, but that may be changing soon. Taco Bell is promoting its new “Drive-Thru Diet” after a 27-year-old Pensacola, Fla., woman claimed to lose weight on a diet of fast-food tacos. And chains from Dunkin’ Donuts to Kentucky Fried Chicken are now touting lower-calorie fare.

But just how healthful can food served through a window really be? Is it possible to lose weight on a diet of mostly fast food? To hear the answers, read the latest Skin Deep column, “Forget Jenny Craig: Hit the Drive-Thru,” and then please join the discussion below.

What do you think of the lower-calorie foods offered by fast-food companies?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Staying Motivated.... a story of success...

Shelley Rhinehart ... and how she loses 136 pounds...

PLShelley was one of the organizers of the Saint John X-Weighted event. Her motivation for wanting to be involved and help other people lose weight, came from her own success which has been partially motivated by her love of the show.

Before making the decision to lose weight Shelley was 358.8 pounds. "That was my heaviest,” she says. She started going to Weight Watchers, although she initially went to support her friend, and not because she was really that bothered about losing weight herself. “But I found that I loved it and in the 2 ½ years that I have been going to Weight Watchers, I have only missed three meetings in total. I’ve organized my life around that, I try really hard not to miss meetings,” she says.

cruiseShelley says that she got to that 358.8 pounds through mindless eating and although she knew that she was big, she says that she got a real shock when she saw the number on the scale. "I had done a couple of the quick fix diets before that, where I'd drop 30 pounds and then put it back on soon after. But they really were diets, and not sustainable, Weight Watchers just clicks for me and matches my lifestyle," she says.

Too Big to Exercise?

Initially, Shelley was not exercising much as she felt like she didn’t know what she could do when she was that size. She had been using the elliptical trainer, but was flicking through the channels one day when she came across the episode of X-Weighted where Paul Plakas was saying that he thought elliptical trainers were useless.

“I missed his reasoning for that and so I e-mailed him. He emailed me back with the explanation, and I then asked his advice on what I could do when I weighed as much as I did," she says, "and he was really good and helped me lots.”

With Paul's advice, Shelley started to use the treadmill, holding on to both rails at first. "He told me that at one point it would just happen for me, and eventually I would be able to run on the treadmill," she says, "and it was true, eventually I let go of the rails and I was able to up the speed. Eventually one day it was too slow when I was walking and all of a sudden I was running and I really have never looked back."

Plateau Busting

Shelley is taking part in the National Challenge, and is trying to lose another 50 pounds.

In the 2 ½ years of her journey, Shelley has reached plateaus and says that being part of Weight Watchers was really helpful for getting through those times. "It lets me know that everybody has been there, and for me it's about mentally not getting down about it. I've been stuck at this weight for a long time now and I think it's because I'm really getting close, and that was one of the big benefits of having Paul here: He gave me a different kind of workout to do that would step it up and help me get back to losing weight," she says, "the workout he suggested is really kicking my butt.”after shelley

"I just really like Paul's approach," say Shelley, who became such a fan that she now says she could probably recite what was said on every episode there is. "I don't want anybody to sugarcoat it, because I don't sugarcoat it for anybody else," she says, "I do take a lot of things that he says on the show and use that advice."

Shelley says that if you do reach a plateau, it is important not to let it derail you. “Every day is a new day, that is the way I have approached it. There are days when you get off-track but I have never let myself regret it, I just start again that day,” she says.

Staying Motivated

Shelley says that to succeed, you need to keep your goal in mind at all times. “I have a clear goal so when I'm a restaurant I have no problem asking them for an alternative meal or to bring the fruit instead of desert and they are usually quite accommodating," she says.

Shelley says that she never focuses on the big numbers of how much weight she wants to lose, she just kept focusing on losing the next 5 pounds. "Because really, when you think about having to lose 150 pounds, it is a lot of weight and it is demoralizing to think of that," she says.

"I am also a little embarrassed to say that I have a screensaver of Paul Plakas looking right at me, so when I am tempted to eat something in my office that I shouldn't, there he is staring at me," says Shelley. She watches the show faithfully, and says that doing so motivates her. "Wanting to do better on the fitness test when Paul comes back here in six months is probably the biggest motivator", she says.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It really works!

So this morning I went on the scale....

WOW.. this Weight Watchers program does work!

I've lost 10 pounds!

Week 1 of the program.. of course week 2 will be less.. but most importantly I'm not really hungry any more... I am eating a lot but more healthy.. and choices, it's all about food choices !

yooooohooooo.. yeepee...

now that's more like it!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday morning breakfast...

Just had my first WW breakfast... 1 egg, 1/4 cups egg whites, 2 slices Chicken Bacon, 2 slices of WW toast, 1 Latte, I bowl of fruit = 10 points ...

Now had I had regular ingredients it would have equalled = 16 points

Skip Breakfast, Get Fat

Brain Craves High-Calorie Foods When You Skip Breakfast, Study Shows
By Kelli Miller Stacy
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

June 15, 2009 -- Skipping breakfast is often a big no-no if you are trying to lose or maintain weight because it leads to high-calorie cravings later. Now researchers think they know why that happens.

Forgoing the first meal of the day actually tricks your brain into thinking you want higher-calorie foods -- foods that can make you fat, or at least increase your risk for weight gain.

A team from Imperial College London presented the news at the Endocrine Society's 91st annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The researchers used a scan called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to look at how feeding behaviors affected the brain's "reward" center, which plays a role in pleasures and the body's response to them.

Functional MRI allows doctors to look at how blood flow increases in response to brain activity.

The study involved 20 healthy, non-obese people. They skipped breakfast before the fMRI exam. During the test, they looked at random photos of high- and low-calorie foods. The high-calorie foods included pizza, cake, and chocolate. The healthier options included vegetables, fish, and salad.

The brain's reward center lit up more vividly, or became more active, when the person saw a high-calorie food as opposed to a low-calorie choice. (The taste and smell of food can also activate the brain's reward center.)

However, when the participants ate breakfast and had the same test repeated 90 minutes after eating breakfast, the brain's reward center did not show any significantly greater activity when shown the high-calorie photos.

The study participants also rated how appealing they found each food picture. When skipping breakfast, high-calorie foods topped the list of favorites. After eating, however, the group did not show a strong preference for the calorie-laden foods. Their choices corresponded with the MRI findings.

Breakfast has long been touted as the most important meal of the day, and researchers say their findings add credence to that adage.

"Our results support the advice for eating a healthy breakfast as part of the dietary prevention and treatment of obesity," Tony Goldstone, MD, PhD, a consultant endocrinologist with the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre at Imperial College London, says in a statement. "When people skip meals, especially breakfast, changes in brain activity in response to food may hinder weight loss and even promote weight gain."

Researchers hope the findings could one day lead to the development of weight loss medications that target the brain's reward circuitry and disrupt the craving bias between high-calorie and low-calorie foods.

Friday, January 22, 2010

its Friday... yaah!

So now my first weekend...need to do lots of reading... so many books to read... not much to write today, WW day 3, still going strong.. have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

WW - day 2

WW - day 2.. hit my maximum points last night after dinner.. so no late night snacks aloud.. tough!
but I did succeed!

Today's recipe:

Cheesy Chili-Mac
Print Email

main meals

POINTS® Value: 5
Servings: 8
Preparation Time: 16 min
Cooking Time: 28 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy
A hearty meal in a bowl. It's full of great stuff like lean beef, pinto beans and chili peppers. Turn leftovers into burritos.


1 spray(s) cooking spray
2/3 pound(s) raw extra lean ground beef
2 medium onion(s), chopped
29 oz canned stewed tomatoes, Mexican-style (undrained)
2 1/2 cup(s) canned tomato juice
4 oz canned green chili peppers, diced, drained
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 cup(s) uncooked macaroni, elbow-size
31 oz canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup(s) low-fat shredded cheddar cheese


  • Coat a large skillet with cooking spray; set over medium-high heat. Cook beef and onion until meat is browned, stirring and breaking up meat with a spoon as it cooks, about 10 minutes; drain off fat.

  • Stir in undrained tomatoes and their juice, tomato juice, chili peppers and chili powder; bring mixture to a boil.

  • Stir in macaroni and beans; return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until macaroni is tender, about 15 minutes. Spoon chili into bowls and sprinkle with cheese. Yields about 1 cup chili and 1 tablespoon cheese per serving.


  • This recipe is part of our Make Ahead Soups, Chilies and Stews series. To learn more about this cook-and-freeze feature, click here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

WW - Day 1

Wendy Limbertie WW ... day 1... just entered all my food points for this morning.. amazing that my breakfast( haven't changed it) equals 9 points! ... I've got now 23 left...

21 minutes ago · ·
Wendy Limbertie
Wendy Limbertie
BTW , my breakfast is:
3/4 cup of frozen strawberries=0 points
1/2 cup of Muesli = 5 points
1/2 cup of fat free yogurt = 1 point
Grand latte coffee ( +300ml hot 1% milk ) = 3 points...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Now here is my new motivation!

Tonight I went to my first Weight Watchers meeting. Why didn't I do this months ago? this is perfect. Need to find a place where you can be yourself, pour out all your frustrations.. plus get weighed - in ? well WW is the place!

I'm excited and happy to have found my new " church"
= my place of worship, my place of peace, my place of joy, my place of a cure, my place of new friends, my place of new mentors ... etc.. etc..

next tuesday is my second weigh-in.. stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

WOW! 10 months????


Losing a significant amount of your body weight is no easy feat, let alone losing 164 pounds in 10 months, which is what Kevin Hennessy was able to do.

Kev before

Hennessy's start weight was 320 pounds, and he had a 52-inch waist. Hennessey says that the weight just crept up on him over the years: One day he just woke up and was too big for a seat on an airplane. "I'd drink up to 20 triple cream double sugar coffees a day, food for me meant going through a drive through, then I'd drink quite a lot of alcohol so that I could sleep every night, only to get up and start again the next day," he says.

Kevin and PaulThe decision to get healthy was a sudden one. "I came home from work late one night, and my 13-year-old daughter was still up. I asked her why she wasn't in bed, and she said that she couldn't sleep because she was worried that I was going to die. She told me that she had heard of so many people having heart attacks because they were fat, and she was scared. That was the turning point for me, I knew I wanted to be around to watch her grow up," says Hennessey, "It was like a switch went off in my head and from that moment I was done, I started eating right and looking after my body."

Once Hennessy started his weight-loss journey, he watched X-Weighted whenever he could. "It was very motivating, because Paul Plakas was on there helping people like me. It would give me strength; I saw where others failed just like when I failed. When I binged, it made me get up and start again the next day," he says "I learned through Paul that you just put your foot forward and you keep going."

At the beginning, working out was not easy for Hennessy, "When I first started I could do about 2 1/2 minutes on the treadmill, and then I would spend 15 minutes in the pool - that was about as much as I could manage," he says. Over time, he got much fitter and he was working out for an average of 2 1/2 hours a day. "There were a lot of hard things about being fat and working out at the gym. One day I got stuck in a piece of equipment," he says, "then there were the occasional rude comments from people and people staring at me when I was working out."

There were periods in his journey where Hennessy's weight loss was fast, at one point he lost 18 pounds over 14 days, but he also had his fair share of plateaus. "Sometimes I wouldn't lose weight for a couple of weeks, but through watching the show and talking to other people I was expecting that to happen. You just keep pushing it, I changed up my exercise routine and soon started losing weight again," he says.

The transformation that Hennessy affected was incredible. He went from clothes that were a size 5XL being too tight, and having trouble finding clothes that would fit, to having the opposite problem - now he is so slim that he has to shop in completely different stores.

His friends are amazed at how much has changed. "I've run into friends that haven't seen me in a year, and they didn't know who I was," he says, "Until they heard me talking they had no idea it was me."

To those that are starting their own journey towards fitness, Hennessy has this advice: "If you fall off the cart, don't beat yourself up over it. Just get up in the morning and start over again. We are going to fail, the secret is not to get so depressed about it that you give up, because you can't give up."


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Throwing out perfectly good food.... it's hard!


cheetosAs fans of the show will know, the X-Weighted experts advise getting unhealthy foods out of our homes in order to avoid the temptation of eating them.

Although the idea of just throwing everything unhealthy into a garbage bag might sound pretty easy to some people, there are many reasons why it is a daunting task for others.

Most of us were brought up not to waste food, so there is a deep seated conflict that comes to the surface when we think about throwing large quantities of food away.

There is also the question of money. Food is expensive, especially treats and packaged foods. The idea of throwing away $100 worth of groceries is scary.

Another factor that stops us from being able to just get rid of the bad stuff is the emotional attachment that we have to it. When food is your comfort, the thing that never lets you down and makes you instantly feel better, it is hard to just dispose of it.

Because of all these reasons, it is difficult to do the big purge. But, you really do have to do it.

Realize that the good health you are working towards has more value than could ever be put in a dollar amount, and in the grand scheme of things that $100 worth of groceries is not worth worrying about.

Believe in yourself - you will have the strength to get through without the safety net of always having those foods nearby. Over the next 26 weeks, you will develop coping strategies that do not involve eating.

When you do purge your home, consider donating that food to the local food bank or homeless shelter. By doing that, you aren't just throwing away the food - you're making a difference and helping people as you help yourself.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

NEW - Weight-loss challenge...

This morning I got up bright and early to went down to the Extreme Fitness Yonge/Dundas location to sign up for this newest weigh-loss challenge set up by

Down at the gym, I signed up, got weighed, got measured, did a fitness test an as you can see in this picture I met with some of the experts from the show- Dr David Macklin and an X-Weighted show producer.

Dr David A Macklin

As one of Canada’s leading physicians in the field of lifestyle medicine, Dr David A Macklin brings a wealth of experience to X-Weighted. He has committed his career to helping others change their behaviour, develop a healthy lifestyle and manage their weight.

He is board certified in Family Medicine by the Canadian College of Family Physicians, a member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, the college of Family Physicians of Canada and the Ontario Medical Association.

Macklin says that one of the most interesting parts of X-Weighted is that he is able to go in to participants’ homes. “That way I can better identify the obstacles they face” he says. Macklin founded the Weightcare Clinic in Toronto in 2005, where he teaches people to lose weight permanently.

To watch Dr David Macklin's Intro Video, click here.

here is the criteria:

On January 9th 2010, we’ll be launching a nationwide fitness challenge where you can have your own X-Weighted experience and be in the running to win some major prizes. By registering for the XWEIGHTED.COM NATIONAL CHALLENGE you’ll be joining an online community designed to help you succeed. Sign up and you’ll be able to:

Take the 26 week challenge

A challenge designed with the X-Weighted experts to help you succeed on your own weight-loss journey.

Form Groups

Get together with other XWEIGHTED.COM users that share the same goals as you, form groups with real life friends or anyone you choose to support through this journey.

Choose Fitness Goals

You’ll be able to choose a fitness goal from a list of those featured on X-Weighted, from other community users, or your very own unique goal.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

New Goals!

Yesterday I saw and worked out with my trainer, Sylvie, for the first time this new year of .. back on track.. with a new goal set! The both of us are planning and training to run the Scotia Bank Toronto Waterfront 1/2 marathon in September 2010! Wow!

Monday, January 04, 2010

My Continuing Journey - Year 3

So now we are in year 3 of my journey .... I have had some requests about the bodybugg, the most important invention in Diet Tools in the last 10 years!
Available to purchase for Americans via 24hour fitness, and for Canadians only through Ebay

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Riding an Elephant

Yesterday I was watching the great film "The Bucket List" ... and while watching that scene with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman riding the back of a jeep, singing a song from the Lion King, as they watched African wildlife run around them.

I thought, god before I die, I sure would like to experience an African safari like that!

Watching this scene did jog a memory though, of how I did get a little taste of Africa right here in Toronto when I was 12 years old.

We were living in Don Mills at the time, and it was the year of 1972. My mom just told me that the great " Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus " is coming to town, and she just saw an ad in the newspaper about the announcement of a poster designing contest to win free tickets and $200 worth of Mattel Toys, plus a RIDE ON A ELEPHANT!

I was 12 at the time, and I thought, that is so cool, I want to enter! So off to Fairview Mall and to Grand & Toy I went, to buy the arts supplies. I wanted the brightest poster paper and paint there was! florissant almost.

I spent the next week down in the laundry room designing and trying out different designs for the poster. Finally, day 6 I had it! My mom sent the poster in and now we wait.

About 2 weeks later, I received the news that my poster had won!
Wooo hoooo!
I won tickets to the circus for the whole family, $200 worth of Toys and the most important and coolest thing, a ride on a real Elephant!

The Circus arrived on a warm spring day in June 1972 to the CNE. The animals arrived by train. My dad drove me to the CNE with his ' Bolex' movie camera in hand to film the entire event.

We drove up to the area where the animals were being unloaded from the Train box cars. I remember I was so excited and nervous, especially when I saw the elephants starting to come out of the Train Cars one by one; they was so tall, and big ! Towering over everything and every one. It was so cute, how the elephant handlers were coaching the elephants to start kneeling down one by one in-front of me and about 5 other kids that were also invited to ride them.

The smell of them was pungent, be that didn't matter, I was going to ride an actual elephant! So one of the trainers came and got me, all the while my dad was filming away on his ' Bolex' movie camera, I had to climb up on the knee of the elephant, and then grab his ear, and pull myself up onto the neck of the elephant and there I was to hold onto his B & B collar. ( just like the one in the picture above)

So now the elephant was going to stand up. As I was to hold on very, very tight, first his right leg, as I keeled over to the left, and thought I was going to fall off, the finally his left leg, as it leveled out again, and up, up ,up we went ! So high in the Sky now! I was 15 feet up in the air!
The other elephants now grabbed onto each others tails and the handlers started leading them for a walk through the CNE grounds.

I was on the very first, lead elephant, as I had won 1st prize in the poster contest, which made good filming for my dad. My dad quickly got into his car and drove ahead of the pack of elephants, got out filmed, jumped back in his car again and continued driving ahead a few 100 metres, and thus filming the entire event.

It was so much fun! exciting and scary at the same time. You were holding onto that collar for dear life! Falling off was not an option. My elephant all of a sudden lifted his truck and gave out a call..... Blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah... and then a sort of snort... it scarred me, but I kept on holding on....

I remember the smell of the elephant, it was not pleasant, and it was also very dirty. Stupid me, I was wearing white pants that day, and when I got off at the end of our 30 minute walk, they sure as hell were not white any more!

So we came a full circle around the CNE grounds and arrived back at the train box cars. The elephant leaned down onto his knee again so as I could get off. I almost fell forward over his head when he did this, but didn't, thank god. Wow... what a great experience.. and my dad got it all on film. We have the home movie somewhere, hopefully one day we will transfer all the 100's of home movies onto DVD's so we can watch them all again in the comfort of our own homes.

The Circus Tickets were handed to me at the end of the elephant ride, I said my goodbyes to all the elephants, and handlers. That night we were to come back to the CNE to see the whole show! At the show that night, in the big old Colosseum at the CNE, the elephants entered the arena, and the announcer actually announced that earlier that day a few lucky children were invited to ride the elephants because they won our poster designing contest, and there they announced my name over the p.a to everyone!

My poster was published in the paper earlier that week, and now also hung on the wall in the Colosseum at the CNE. What ever happened to it after that who knows? ( this poster to the left is not it!.. but the actual vintage poster from B&B in 1972)
What a great experience! do you know anyone that has ridden an elephant? for real?
Strangely the $200 worth of Toys never arrived... but that was okay, I was 12 and well I didn't play with toys any more, and besides.... I had won something more important...

... the ride of my life-time!!!