Sunday, January 10, 2010

Check us out at

Doing a little New Year's Internet housecleaning and noticed that this thing is still hanging around.

Nothing to see here, move along ... to, where Carol and I are blogging regularly.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sorry for the mess -- I'm working on exporting the blog

Sure, you can read everything but right now Shrinking Sisters is undergoing a makeover. Hang tight and I'll let you all know when I'm done noodling around.

If you want to see what I'm working on, go to

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Biggest Loser discussion: Amy gets sacked

NBC photo

Jillian vows to help Michelle and Renee by beating the weight off of them. Aww, how generous of her. Poor naive Amy thinks all is well with Icky Vicky but she's still out to get her.

Then Ali trots out Jerry Rice and Steve Young who demonstrate an NFL-inspired combine workout, which Icky Vicky game-played to win. Boo. But she did win $10,000 to donate to a school to fight childhood obesity.

The challenge: More football. They have to catch footballs dressed in their cute little football uniforms. The blue team works in unison to wipe out the black team. Then Icky, nay, EVIL VICKY starts working to pick off Amy. Poor naive Amy. And Vicky wins again. Vicky exults "I'm goin' to the Pro Bowl!"

Oh, shut up.

Rocco DiSpirito stopped by and showed the crew how to make a lighter Thanksgiving. His poached turkey looked really interesting as did the awesome stuffing. (Don't worry, I found Rocco's Biggest Loser Thanksgiving recipes). I may also give the quinoa pasta a try since it's higher in protein than the regular stuff.

After the Thanksgiving meal, they got to watch videos of their family give inspiring holiday messages. Spoiler alert: This stuff was filmed during the summer so the Thanksgiving messages were kinda weird. Since the finale is less than a month away (Dec. 16) all the contestants are home right now for Thanksgiving.

To read more, go to

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Biggest Loser discussion group: Revenge is best served with steamed broccoli

Fitting that the show starts out with a shot of the pool since the show has become like an episode of Melrose Place. So what did Icky Vicky's sign say?

Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.
I will not rest until that lying B!TCH is out of this house.
NBC photo

OMG, how much do we hate Vicky??? I am so embarrassed that I own the same sneakers as her. Loved the talk that Bob had with Amy. Wow, Bob actually understands the premise of the show: to lose weight and get healthy. Hear that, Biggest Loser Vicky loserpants?

Next Ali tools up in a Delorean dressed in hideous '80s garb. It was not a good fashion decade. Ed was awesome in his short-shorts and sweatband. A little word about '80s aerobic shoes -- total unsupportive crap. Both teams silly retro workouts involving breakdancing, step aerobics and Flashdance moves. Bob tries to bring the fractured Blue Team together but Vicky's having none of it. Let it go, Crazy Lady!

The challenge: They're holding onto 50 percent of their body weight and answering fitness questions. The losers get a Flashdance splash. Michelle won by convincing her mom to let go of the bucket.

Bob once again pleaded with Icky Vicky to bury the hatchet but she's not droppin' it. Jillian, on the other hand, led the most sadistic spin class I've ever seen. And then she showed them the wonders of plastic bags.

Read more at my Examiner column HERE. (The link is fixed now.)

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Lean Cuisine recall info

During the workweek, I live on Lean Cuisines and other frozen meals, so I paid close attention to today's recall of three Lean Cuisine chicken entrees, because chicken's what I choose most often. The meals are being recalled because shards of plastic were found in some of the packages. Here's the info:

9.5-ounce packages of "LEAN CUISINE PESTO CHICKEN WITH BOW TIE PASTA" brand frozen meals. Printed on each side of each package is a production code of "8280595912" as well as a use-by date of "Best Before MAY 2010."
10.5-ounce packages of "LEAN CUISINE CHICKEN MEDITERRANEAN" brand frozen meals. Printed on the side of each package is a production code of "8231595912" or "8241595912" as well as a use-by date of "Best before SEP 2010"; a production code of "8263595912," "8269595911" or "8274595912," as well as a use-by date of "Best before OCT 2010"; or, a production code of "8291595912" or "8301595912" as well as a use-by date of "Best before NOV 2010."
12.5-ounce packages of "LEAN CUISINE CHICKEN TUSCAN" brand frozen meals. Printed on the side of each package is a production code of "8234595911" and a use-by date of "Best before SEP 2009"; a production code of "8253595911" or "8269595912" as well as a use-by date of "Best before OCT 2009"; or, a production code of "8292595911" or "8296595911" as well as a use-by date of "Best before NOV 2009."
Each package also bears the USDA mark of inspection as well as the establishment number "EST P-9018." The frozen chicken meals were produced on Aug. 18, Aug. 21, Aug. 28, Sept. 9, Sept. 19, Sept. 25, Sept. 30, Oct. 6, Oct. 17-18, Oct. 22 and Oct. 27 and were distributed to retail establishments nationwide.

People who bought any of these products are asked to call the Nestle Consumer Services Center at 800-227-6188.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Biggest Loser discussion group: Icky Vicky and the Blue Meanies

I posted this over at, but I'm also going to start posting my stuff here as well.

I'll just admit it -- I do not like Vicky. She's more interested in playing the game than in getting healthy. Although it could all be in the editing.

Bob had a little challenge with his team -- the person who runs the farthest in three minutes on the treadmill gets a "banana fudge sundae." I already figured out they wouldn't be diving into the real thing. C'mon, it's a new Jell-O pudding flavor! (And actually it is pretty good.)

All the eliminated contestants have returned and one of them will be rejoining the competition by winning the challenge. Coleen's dad had to work so he couldn't join in. Amy C. lost 47 pounds, yet evil Vicky didn't applaud for her! And then she said Phil shouldn't come back because he lost the most weight. Meanie! Phil was having none of her evil vibes. And what evil vibes!

NBC photo

The challenge: It's step aerobics ... from hell. They had to do 1,000 steps. Heba was shrieking at her husband (shut up!) to go faster, and it paid off because Ed won. Stacey came really close but didn't win, which would have been nice because she's a nice person.

(Note to self: Don't pull Bob's leg. He DOESN'T like it.)

Then our old pal Ali Vincent walks in! Last season's winner introduced Prevention magazine's nutrition director Cynthia Sass, who dished out tips on portion control and healthy substitutions.

Jillian doesn't want to lose so she "BEAT THE CRAP" out of her trio at the last-chance workout.

Weigh-in: Very good numbers from everyone this week. It was Michelle's goal to get to One-derland this week and she did, with bells on! She hit 194 pounds. I will be kind to Icky Vicky and salute her 8 pound loss and entree into One-derland but she's still a smug, little meanie.

Elimination: Right here, right now, there was no time to deliberate. The players moved from the weigh-in room to the elimination room. Brady seemed to have it in the bag with the Blue Team but Amy flipped and sent Brady off. The vote was tied but he lost the lower percentage of weight, so buh-bye.


OK, gloating time over. Didn't Brady look incredible at the end. He's down 100 pounds. Wow -- next week looks juicy. Apparently Vicky exacts revenge.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

An International incident

Because I had a coupon, I bought a quart of International Delight Caribbean Cinnamon Creme coffee creamer this past weekend, instead of my usual unflavored Silk creamer. I knew it had more calories and sugar that the Silk but once I measured out the teeny tablespoon I realized I was in trouble.

The unflavored Silk creamer has 15 calories per tablespoon -- no biggie. The International Delight has a scary 45 calories. And fat-free is not much better at 30 calories.

And who puts a tablespoon in their coffee unless you're drinking from dainty china cups. I don't know about you, but my morning mug can double as a child's kiddie pool. A tablespoon doesn't make a dent in the darkness.

So let's do the math: 2 tablespoons is 90 calories; 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) is 180 calories. A quarter cup of Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby is only slightly less at 165 calories. Yes, Ben and Jerry's ice cream is lower in calories.

Would you consider putting a blob of Ben and Jerry's in your coffee every morning? That's what many people do with flavored creamers.

So it's back to the plain ol' Silk creamer. The International Delight now coats the inside of the garbage disposal with all its creamy sweetness.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Flat Belly Diet Q&A with Prevention editor Liz Vaccariello

Through the help of the Flat Belly Diet team members, I sent off some questions about the diet to Prevention magazine editor and Flat Belly Diet author Liz Vaccariello. Here's the Q&A:

Q. Is there a point at which adding the MUFAs raises the percent of fats too high? Nutrition guidelines suggest your fat intake be something like 20% to 30%. When I follow the diet I seem to be consuming almost 40% or more of my calories from fat....Of course I'm trying to eat less than the recommended 1,600 calories so maybe my fat ratios are too high.

LIZ: Well, first of all, I must congratulate you on your interest in nutrition! For women over the age of 18, the recommended intake of total dietary fat is between 20% and 35% of total calories, according to the Institutes of Medicine, but studies have shown that diets can be healthy if they contain up to 40% calories from fat, especially if the fat sources are healthful. On average the Flat Belly Diet provides about 35% of calories from fat, mostly in the form of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs, which have been shown to help reduce the risk of many different types of disease. Consuming more of this healthful fat as part of your daily calories can actually help you stay on the plan because fat keeps you feeling full and satisfied in between meals.

In regards to your last note — that you're consuming fewer calories than the diet recommends — I would discourage this. It is very difficult to fulfill all your nutrient needs on a diet containing 1500 calories or fewer, and it's even harder to get enough MUFA. If you are cutting portion sizes of carbohydrates and protein, your fat ratio will indeed be higher. If you are absolutely certain that 1600 calories is too much for you to lose weight safely, I'd advise cutting a snack pack in half, rather than trying to shave calories from individual meals. It's easier to maintain the correct balance of nutrients that way.

Q. I am curious about other nutrients. Should we try to get in high fiber, or protein, etc. as well?

LIZ: Overall, the program is designed to provide about 25 grams of fiber a day, but this of course will vary depending on which meals you choose. It also provides about 20% calories from lean protein and 45% calories from carbs (most of which are whole grains, fruits and vegetables). Cynthia Sass, the registered dietitian who created the plan for Prevention, modeled the diet after the Mediterranean Diet, which has been long revered for its healthfulness.

Q. Does this diet have to be 1,600 calories? According to my nutritionist, 1,600 calories is my maintenance level. I've sort of dabbled with adding the MUFAs into my diet, but in smaller amounts.

LIZ: Cynthia designed the diet to be about 1600 calories because that's the amount of calories that a woman over 40 of average height and build with an average activity level needs to get down to her ideal body weight. If a registered dietitian has calculated that this is definitely too many calories for you, I would again advise splitting a snack pack in half rather than trying to shave calories from individual meals. Also, before you dabble by adding MUFAs to your current diet, I'd suggest following the diet exactly for at least 28 days, so you can get accustomed to the portion sizes. MUFAs are high-calorie foods, so adding them directly to your current diet, without following some of the other Flat Belly Diet rules—such as making sure each meal is around 400 calories—could result in weight gain, not loss. Finally, the online subscription service allows you to customize the Flat Belly Diet to your activity level and height, so if 1600 calories really is too much, can help you determine the correct amount.

Q. Am I supposed to be getting a certain amount of MUFAs per day as far as grams go? I have been following the diet pretty closely an I have had great results; I have lost 8.9 lbs in about 28 days, I definitely am not going hungry and although I have hit the gym a few times, I am not doing anything over the top in the exercise area.

LIZ: Congratulations!!! I love to hear from people who have had success with this plan—it warms my heart to know that we at Prevention have really helped you achieve better health. As far as getting a certain amount of MUFA: We wanted to make the diet easy for people to follow. I don't know about you, but I don't think counting fat grams is easy. I have enough to worry about every day than how many grams of fat were in my burrito. So instead of requiring people to consume a certain number of grams of MUFA per day, we focused instead on teaching people how to eat a certain amount of MUFA foods a day. We just thought that was easier! And so that's how the rule of one MUFA per meal came up.

Q. Is it OK to only have 50 calories from a MUFA at one meal and 200 MUFA calories at another meal?

LIZ: Hey — I'm not a drill sergeant, but it's only OK if you're not interested in following the Flat Belly Diet! Seriously, the serving sizes of MUFA foods were carefully developed to ensure a certain percentage of MUFA in each meal. This amount of MUFA — about 120 calories, depending on the MUFA you choose — helps ensure that the meals are satisfying and healthful. In many cases, the MUFA also helps you prepare the meal. For instance, a tablespoon of canola oil may be used to stir-fry shrimp.

Q. What's the best way to eat the Flat Belly way at restaurants and fast-food places?

LIZ: I travel a lot — I'll be home just ten days this month! So I know how hard it is to find healthy food on the road. We are actually working on a follow-up book — shhhh!!! — to help dieters like you when you're eating outside the home. If you've just started the plan, I'd suggest make every effort to eat as many meals as possible at home (or to eat foods you prepare yourself) for at least 28 days (32 if you're starting with the Anti-Bloat Jumpstart phase of the plan). The first four weeks are critical to ensuring you understand the rules of the plan and making sure you're familiar with portion sizes and meal components.

If you're a Flat Belly veteran, there are, thankfully, a number of strategies you can employ. Step one: Never leave home without your MUFA. I usually travel with a container of almonds and a few plastic baggies tucked into my suitcase, so I can add my MUFA to any meal. Step two: Order smart. Look on the menu for a healthful salad, soup or vegetable-based dish. Order the salad with vinegar and oil on the side so you can measure your olive oil MUFA yourself. Just say no to creamy, cheesy sauces that may bump your calorie intake out of whack. Choose lean proteins—seafood, skinless chicken and beef or pork tenderloin, for instance. Go for whole grains like barley or whole wheat pasta. Tell the waiter not to give you a bread basket, and skip the alcohol.

But hey — if this sounds too restrictive, just do the best you can. If you want a glass of wine to participate in a festive toast, I'm not going to track you down! The following day, just get right back on the Flat Belly Diet bandwagon.

When it comes to fast food choices, I must confess, there aren't a ton of options. Few fast food restaurants provide the necessary ingredient information to allow us to evaluate whether their food is Flat belly Diet-appropriate. But we do provide a small list of meals from a variety of establishments, including McDonald's, Jack in the Box, and Au Bon Pain, that can be turned into Flat Belly Diet meals simply by adding a MUFA. Wendy's chili is acceptable, and so is Taco Bell's Ranchero Chicken Soft Taco, when ordered "Fresco Style". Just remember: Each of these items needs to have a MUFA added to it.

Q. Is there a grab-and-go food out there that has the perfect Flat Belly ratio of nutrients?

LIZ: We haven't found it yet, unfortunately! However, there are a number of meal replacement bars — like Larabar brand chocolate-coconut bar or Clif Brownie bars — that can be instantly made into a grab-and-go Flat Belly Diet meal simply by adding two tablespoons of almonds, Brazil nuts or macadamias. But I will keep this in mind: maybe the world really is ready for a Flat Belly Diet restaurant chain, line of foods, and drive thru!

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

What's in your World Series Taco bell freebie?

Jason Bartlett of the Tampa Bay Rays may have not been on the winning team in the first game of the World Series but he did win America a free taco by stealing a base in the Rays 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies Wednesday night.

What we want to know is will we strike out on our diets if we eat it?

Turns out the free crunchy beef taco will only set you back 170 calories. There are 10 grams of fat and 3.5 grams of that are saturated fat. But there's no trans fat and you do get 3 grams of fiber and a somewhat respectable 350 milligrams of sodium.

You can snap up your free taco between 2 and 6 p.m. your time Tuesday, Oct. 28 at any particpating Taco Bell.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Biggest Loser discussion group: Cirque du Cellulite!

If you saw the commercials for last night's episode, you knew in advance it was either going to be Black Team Phil or his wife, Blue Team Amy. (Thanks, NBC!)

Loved how Bob was funnin' on Amy P's sissyness in the self-defense class.

Then it was back to Dr. Huizenga to see how the contestants were doing. And, of course, everyone's making great strides driving down their biological ages with diet and exercise.

The challenge: A crazy circular balance beam over water WITH LASERS! They wanted them to go around 25 times??? How about once!

To read more, click HERE.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Hit the reset button

I've been foundering around in Weight Loss Land since this summer. Haven't gained any weight but haven't lost any either.

So today I took out my little Mary Kate and Ashley notebook (yes, really) and wrote down my meal plan for the foreseeable future. Here's what I have:

Breakfast: High-protein, high-fiber cereal with fat-free, lactose-free milk or soymilk; piece of fruit and coffee.

Lunch: Some sort of frozen meal and a salad.

Snack: Yogurt and fruit.

Dinner: Lean protein, veggies and 1/2 cup of starch

Post-dinner: Minibag of popcorn or a sugar-free pudding.

Sure there'll be times when I'll have to deviate from the plan but this will be THE plan.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

$5 off coupon at Whole Foods

Just came across this offer on Facebook's fan site of Whole Foods (go figure)... Click here for a $5 off coupon off of a $25 purchase at whole foods. Offer expires 10/22/08

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A whole latte love from my buddy Lynn

Lynn Haraldson Bering is my weight-loss hero. She lost over 150 pounds and has kept it off for more than a year. She's been profiled on Oprah, the Today show and People magazine. She, like me, blogs at multiple places, one of which is Lynn's Weigh: The Journey Continues, where she documents her life at goal. Recently she discovered sugar-free syrup and highly recommends Starbucks' Skinny Caramel Latte. She writes:

I’m probably the last person on earth to discover this, but I love, and I mean seriously love, their Skinny Caramel Latte. I’ve never had a shot of syrup in my coffee before and I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. People blog about how they love sugar-free syrup, they post on message boards how much they love sugar-free syrup. Now I know why they love sugar-free syrup. It’s blog worthy and post worthy. It’s a very yummy way to get a dairy serving in, too.
Hey, wait 'til you start buying giant bottles of sugar-free syrup and your pantry is full of different flavors (like mine)!

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Japan's Morning Banana Diet is B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

Banana prices are rising and shortages are being reported in Japan, where a Morning Banana Diet has people in a frenzy.


It started in March with the publication of Morning Banana Diet, which claimed that eating only bananas and room-temperature water for breakfast jumpstarted weight loss, regardless of what was eaten during the rest of the day.

So who came up with the diet? A guy who studied preventive medicine in Tokyo. He says bananas help digestion and improve metabolism.

Uh, not really, but if you're not a breakfast eater, jumpstarting your metabolism in the morning will help weight loss. But you can do it with any food. Bananas happen to be filling and so is water.

Here's more from The Japan Times Online.

And here's Banana Man, who prefers peanut butter and jelly:

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Easy healthy breakfast Starbucks giveaway

Marielle, Erica and Runnin4fun -- so far you're the winners of our Starbucks gift card giveaway.

Some ideas from our trio:

  • Western Bagel alternative bagel with a Laughing Cow cheese wedge
  • Oatmeal with a little brown sugar, walnuts, craisins and skim milk
  • Shredded wheat with banana or blueberries on top

Please e-mail your name and address to dietexaminer(at) (replace the at with an @) and we'll get your gift cards right out to you.

And for everyone else, we still have a few gift cards, so it's not too late to get your easy healthy breakfast idea in!

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