Good Eating Habits Die Hard in Las Vegas

I have said elsewhere and written here time and again that I feel I have total confidence in my ability to maintain my current weight of 155 pounds, having done that for the last five years.

HOWEVER, that statement is based on the assumption that I am home and in total control of what I eat, preparing most of my own meals. Also, it assumes that I am able to ride my bike an average of about 20 miles a day. Clearly, that much exercise covers a multitude of sins.

Las-Vegas-960-x-420

At the end of February I went with my girlfriend to Las Vegas to celebrate our second anniversary together. In this case, what happened in Las Vegas isn’t going to stay there.

First of all, I realized that I was going to be eating a lot of wonderfully prepared foods. That fact could be a big potential stumbling block for my weight control program. Secondly, no way was I going to be pedaling 20 miles a day on a bike. There are health clubs in the big hotels, HOWEVER, again, I am leery about exercising in Las Vegas. The altitude is 2500 feet above sea level and my body reacts poorly to that. I almost fell off an exercise bike a few years back after just 20 minutes of riding as a result of this altitude. The bottom line is that I limit my exercise to walking around casinos and sight seeing. Not a lot of calories burned that way.

So, I made a policy decision about eating. I was definitely going to enjoy indulging in the culinary fare available. After all, we were there to celebrate. I didn’t want to spoil it being a calorie cop. If I gained a pound or two in the five days we were there, so be it. I felt sure that I could burn them off once I got back home.

I am not going to bore you with pictures from the dozen or so meals
that we ate there. But, I have selected some dishes that I think represented our dining experiences over the period.

This was a pasta dinner at Rao's in Caesars Palace. Delicious meal on our first night.

This was a pasta dinner at Rao’s in Caesars Palace. Delicious meal.

The next day we ate at a little French cafe in Paris, our hotel. This sandwich is bacon and cheddar cheese melted on a croissant.

This was mouth watering and I have to believe it ran close to 1000 calories.

This was mouth wateringly delicious and I have to believe it ran close to 1000 calories.

We would have desserts at dinners, but split them rather than each go crazy with one.

I think this chocolate and whipped cream covered crepe came from another of the French restaurants in Paris.

I think this chocolate and whipped cream covered crepe came from another of the French restaurants in Paris.

Although we don’t usually do the buffets in Las Vegas because there is so much food on them, we did one on this trip. One of the entrees was crab legs.

Bucket of crab legs from the buffet.

Bucket of crab legs from the buffet.

Our anniversary was February 28 and we celebrated at Nobu in Caesars Palace. I have been eating sushi since I was first introduced to it in the mid-1970’s at a press party. I love it and eat it often. I can honestly say that in close to 40 years of eating sushi I have never experienced anything like the dishes at Nobu. I believe there are 35 of them in a number of cities all over the country. If you have a chance and a few extra dollars, I recommend a celebration dinner at one.

Beside being gorgeously laid out, this was literally melt in your mouth delicious.

Besides being gorgeously presented, this black cod was literally melt in your mouth delicious.

The final dish was our dessert at Nobu. I was so impressed with the way they decorated the plate.

This was some kind of melted chocolate pastry that simply exceeded my descriptive powers.

This was some kind of melted chocolate pastry that simply exceeded my descriptive powers.

Again, we split the dessert.

Just to fill in some details, we did go back to the little diner at Paris and I had their ham and gruyere croissant sandwich which was equally delicious and caloric.

This was another food court meal, a strawberry crepe with whipped cream. Again, we split it.

This was another food court meal, a strawberry crepe with whipped cream. Again, we split it.

 

The final night we went downtown to the Chicago Brewery and Pizza parlor in the Four Queens Hotel and Casino. We split a couple of pizzas and wrapped up the remainder to eat on the plane going home.

Okay, that should give you a pretty good idea of the kind of eating we did in four nights over five days in Las Vegas. Put your hand over the next paragraphs and guess – How much weight do you think I gained?

Full disclosure, I figured I had added about two pounds on the trip and I was committed to some serious biking and exercise upon return.

I hope you did as I did and made some kind of a guess about my weight. The following morning, I tipped the scale at … 155 pounds. Incredibly, I didn’t add a pound.

I can’t explain that. My girlfriend said it was because we walked so much, but at my weight walking a mile only burns around 90 calories. I don’t think we walked that many miles. But, the scale doesn’t lie.

The only thing I can think of is that I didn’t snack much between meals and we stuck to a regular schedule of meals. As I said at the top, “Good eating habits die hard.” I think I have become hard-wired to balance my intake and output. I didn’t get silly at a bunch of buffets and I didn’t fret at any point in the trip about what I was eating.

If you have any observations, I would be pleased to hear them.

Tony

I have written about trips to Las Vegas previously: Is it Possible to Enjoy Las Vegas and Control Your Weight? Thoughts on Aging in Las Vegas, What Happens in Las Vegas …”

8 Comments

Filed under Las Vegas

How to Be More Optimistic

Tony:

Reframe your frustrations. Researchers at the University of Kent in England found that people who strived to see the positive side of things that went wrong – rather than venting to friends about what went wrong, or blaming themselves for small failures – were happier and more satisfied at the end of the day.

optimism
To read further on positive thinking, check out my posts:
What is Positive Psychology?
Breaking down 8 Barriers to Positive Thinking – Infographic
How to Become a Positive Thinker
Positive Thoughts To Dwell On
How to Harness Positive Psychology for You – Harvard
Positive, Happy People Suffer Less Pain

Tony

 

Originally posted on Our Better Health:

Perspective is everything, and you can learn to change a negative outlook.

By Colleen Oakley      WebMD Magazine – Feature Reviewed by Patricia A. Farrell, PhD

Think happy thoughts. Find the silver lining. Look on the bright side.

Rolling your eyes yet? Alexandra Hruz is. She’s a 27-year-old self-proclaimed pessimist who lives in Chattanooga, TN. “When people are overly optimistic, it’s much easier to be let down by circumstances,” she says. “I don’t think the world is going to end tomorrow, but I also don’t like to hang my hopes on things working out on their own, simply by the power of positive thinking.”

But experts say positive thinking has serious benefits that go beyond a perky attitude. According to a recent study from the University of Pittsburgh, women who expect good things to happen have a 30% lower risk for heart disease.

Optimism was also linked to a…

View original 283 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under optimism, Positive Psychology, positivity

More Suggestions on Exercise Benefits – NIH

After the wonderful reblog yesterday on the benefits of healthy eating and exercise on the brain, I thought it would be nice to reinforce those ideas.

exercise

Herewith, our own government in the form of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) saying, “Exercise and physical activity are good for just about everyone, including older adults. No matter your health and physical abilities, you can gain a lot by staying active. In fact, in most cases you have more to lose by not being active.

“Here are just a few of the benefits. Exercise and physical activity:

• Can help maintain and improve your physical strength and fitness.
• Can help improve your ability to do the everyday things you want to do.
• Can help improve your balance.
• Can help manage and improve diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
• Can help reduce feelings of depression and may improve mood and overall well-being.
• May improve your ability to shift quickly between tasks, plan an activity, and ignore irrelevant information.

“The key word in all these benefits is YOU—how fit and active you are now and how much effort you put into being active. To gain the most benefits, enjoy all four types of exercise, stay safe while you exercise, and be sure to eat a healthy diet, too!”

In conclusion I would just like to add that my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain and Exercise has tons more information on the value of exercise and its impact on your brain. I hope you can find time to dig into it.

Tony

Leave a comment

Filed under aging, Exercise

Healthy Eating, Exercise and Brain-training

Tony:

According to Professor Kivipelto, “Much previous research has shown that there are links between cognitive decline in older people and factors such as diet, heart health, and fitness. However, our study is the first large randomised controlled trial to show that an intensive programme aimed at addressing these risk factors might be able to prevent cognitive decline in elderly people who are at risk of dementia.”

This is wonderful news. I love everything about it. My blog is based on exactly these principles. Eat intelligently and get your exercise and your brain will benefit in your declining years. Well done!

Tony

Originally posted on Cooking with Kathy Man:

A comprehensive programme providing older people at risk of dementia with healthy eating guidance, exercise, brain training, and management of metabolic and vascular risk factors appears to slow down cognitive decline, according to the first ever randomised controlled trial of its kind, published in The Lancet.

In the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER) study, researchers led by Professor Miia Kivipelto from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, and University of Eastern Finland, assessed the effects on brain function of a comprehensive intervention aimed at addressing some of the most important risk factors for age-related dementia, such as high body-mass index and heart health.

1260 people from across Finland, aged 60-77 years, were included in the study, with half randomly allocated to the intervention group, and half allocated to a control group, who received regular health advice…

View original 312 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under aging, brain health, cognitive decline, Exercise

Dehydration Damages Us – Infographic

I have written about hydration and the importance of water for our life and bodily functions. I thought this infographic put a lot of that info together in one place. I make it a point every morning to start with a glass of warm water. That seems so logical considering that I have taken in no water for the previous 7 to 8 hours.

Dehydration-Makes-You-Fat-and-Sick

Tony

2 Comments

Filed under dehydration

Belated Happy Pi Day Post – Infographic

Hope it isn’t too late to join in the Pi Day fun with this infographic. Since this Pi Day was a once in a lifetime five digit one, seems a shame not to cerebrate.

I hope you enjoy a Byte or two.

a324bcd4367f1ad2e9dfcb04e9c16e3fIf you insist on getting serious about it, check out Steven Strogatz’s Why Pi Matters in The New Yorker.

Tony

2 Comments

Filed under Pi Day

Prescription for Living Longer: Spend Less Time Alone

Tony:

“Not only are we at the highest recorded rate of living alone across the entire century, but we’re at the highest recorded rates ever on the planet,” said Tim Smith, co-author of the study. “With loneliness on the rise, we are predicting a possible loneliness epidemic in the future.”

Originally posted on Cooking with Kathy Man:

Ask people what it takes to live a long life, and they’ll say things like exercise, take Omega-3s, and see your doctor regularly.

Now research from Brigham Young University shows that loneliness and social isolation are just as much a threat to longevity as obesity.

“The effect of this is comparable to obesity, something that public health takes very seriously,” said Julianne Holt-Lunstad, the lead study author. “We need to start taking our social relationships more seriously.”

Loneliness and social isolation can look very different. For example, someone may be surrounded by many people but still feel alone. Other people may isolate themselves because they prefer to be alone. The effect on longevity, however, is much the same for those two scenarios.

The association between loneliness and risk for mortality among young populations is actually greater than among older populations. Although older people are more likely to be lonely and…

View original 314 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under aging, living longer, longevity

6 Tricks to Eat Healthier – Harvard

I happened upon this from Harvard Medical School’s Healthbeat. It happens to be six of the best ideas that I have written about or heard about for eating healthier and smarter.

1. Ditch whole milk
Not only does this reduce saturated fat in your diet, it also shaves off calories.
How: Switch to 1% or nonfat milk, and nonfat versions of other dairy products like yogurt and ice cream. Can’t bear to go cold turkey? Step down more slowly to 2% milk, then 1% en route to nonfat, if possible.

Most of the people I know have been drinking skimmed or soymilk for years.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2. Harness the power of nuts (and seeds)
Almonds, cashews, filberts, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, and pistachios pack plenty of beneficial nutrients, including vitamin E, folic acid, potassium, and fiber. Although many nuts are high in fat, the fat is mainly unsaturated — a healthy choice.
How: First, put nuts on the grocery list. Nuts are high in calories, so it’s best to enjoy them in place of other snacks, not in addition to them, and to keep serving sizes small.

Amen, brother. To read further on the benefits of nuts and seeds, check out my posts:
6 Reasons You Should Eat Pumpkin Seeds Year-Round
The Super Seeds: Which is Healthier
What are the Top Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

Are Chia Seeds Good for You?
Are Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas) Good For You?

3. Taste food before you salt it
Break the autopilot habit of reaching for the salt shaker.
How: For two days, don’t put any salt on your food at all. A short break can help reset your taste buds. Then, leave the salt shaker in the cabinet, so it becomes a bit of an effort to reach for it. Make a ritual out of truly tasting your food before you decide if it needs tweaking.

Great idea, but the fact is that most people get overdosed on the salt that is in their processed foods. The more natural food you eat, the better off you will be.

4. Pack lunch once a week
This makes healthy food choices readily available to you at work or on an outing. And since you are controlling portion sizes, you can make sure that you’re not supersizing your meal. Plus, it saves you money.
How: Once a week, before you shop for groceries, write out a meal plan that leaves enough leftovers for one or two lunches.

I love this. I suggested it back five years ago when we first started the blog.  Here are my exact words: “I think if I were still working I would seriously consider bringing lunch from home a day or two each week to keep a handle on my intake. With a fridge and microwave where you work, you are good to go,” I wrote in the About Me Page.

5. Eat five (or more) vegetables and fruits a day
It’s a nutrient-packed way to fill your plate, and is generally low in calories.
How: First, for one week, keep track of how often you eat fruits and vegetables. One serving equals one-half cup of chopped fruit or most vegetables; for raw leafy vegetables like lettuce and spinach, a serving is one cup. Once you have your baseline, try adding one fruit or vegetable serving a day.

6. Plan meals that are delightful, delicious, and healthy
In an ideal world, food delights all our senses: it looks beautiful, smells heavenly, and tastes delicious, and its textures feel and even sound satisfying. Start thinking about food as something to really savor and enjoy. How: Pencil in time to prepare and savor one or two special meals a week. Once you’ve assembled great ingredients, set a gorgeous table. Take a moment to truly take in scents, companions, and surroundings, and if you like, give thanks.
For 42 simple changes to help you exercise more, eat healthier, stress less, and live a happier, more fulfilling life, buy Simple Changes, Big Rewards from Harvard Medical School.

Tony

Leave a comment

Filed under harvard health letter, Harvard Health Publications, healthy eating

What Happens When a Smoker Quits? – Infographic

I ran across this infographic on the web and wanted to share it with you. I have written so much about the evils of smoking that I just loved this positive view of how the body reacts when it is freed from the impact of smoking.
Check out my Page – How Bad is Smoking? to read further.

99ec563739d7ccda7ff2ae2f81822a24

Tony

1 Comment

Filed under impact of quitting smoking, smoking, Smoking dangers

Don’t let nutrition information paralyze you!

Tony:

So what do we do with all of that information? How do we choose what is best for us?

Print

Sort through it, test it if it seems like a good idea. See what happens FOR YOU. It’s not a double-blind placebo study, but it is really the gold standard for your best health. Studies are valuable, very valuable, but nutrition studies are only pieces of information to consider along with what you notice about your own body’s reaction to different eating styles.

Originally posted on Kim the Dietitian's Weblog:

“Paralzyed by information.”  This is a term a client used today.  I thought it was a brilliant way of describing what so many people are feeling in these times of information overload.  The definition of paralysis is “a loss or impairment of voluntary movement in a body part, caused by injury or disease of the nerves, brain, or spinal cord.”

What my client meant was similar.  She felt a loss or impairment of voluntary movement, but in this case it was behavioral movement toward health improvements.  As long as we are looking at definitions, lets consider the slangy abbreviation “TMI.”  When a person has too much information, it tends to muddy up the head space, leading to an inability to move forward with any kind of certainty or hope for improvement.

Information is great.  I love research.  I love technology.  Still, without a reliable system for weeding through it all to…

View original 300 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under nutrition information

Possible Side Effects of Soda on You – Infographic

I have written repeatedly about the dangers of soft drinks, both diet and sugared. If you want to fill yourself in as opposed to filling yourself up, check out my Page – What’s Wrong With Soft Drinks?

a04334f002799a635cc71ee0a117c057-1

Tony

1 Comment

Filed under soda, soft drinks

High Fiber Foods – Infographic

I love this utterly simple infographic. Nice reminder of how good for us some of these good-tasting foods are.

5

Don’t be a triskaidekaphobic!

Wikipedia says, “Triskaidekaphobia (from Greek tris meaning “3”, kai meaning “and”, deka meaning “10” and phobos meaning “fear” or “morbid fear”) is fear of the number 13 and avoidance to use it; it is a superstition and related to the specific fear of the 13th person at the Last Supper being Judas, who was said to have stabbed Jesus Christ in the back (metaphorically). It is also a reason for the fear of Friday the 13th.”

Tony

Leave a comment

Filed under Fiber, high fiber foods

Could Common Food Additives Be Causing Serious Health Problems?

Tony:

This is really depressing. We already eat too much and exercise too little which creates our weight problems. The last thing we need is something bad in what we think of as our healthy foods, too. The battle never ends.

Tony

Originally posted on Our Better Health:

New research suggests they do.

By Katie Levans / EcoWatch March 4, 2015

Emulsifiers approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are commonly added to processed foods to improve texture, increase shelf life and prevent oils and fats from separating. You’ll see them listed on ingredient labels as polysorbate 80, lecithin, carrageenan, polyglycerols, xanthan and other gums in everything from bread and cookies to salad dressings, ice cream, non-dairy milks and more. Emulsifiers are also used to reduce or remove trans fats and gluten from low-fat, dairy-free and gluten-free items marketed as “health” foods and can appear in organic and non-GMO labeled foods as well.

Can Carrageenan in Some Soy Milk Cause Cancer?
As pervasive as they are in packaged foods,
could emulsifiers be causing health concerns?

A recent study concludes that dietary emulsifiers promote inflammatory diseases in mice by interfering with beneficial microbiota in the gut. According to researchers, dietary emulsifiers disrupt the mucus…

View original 136 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under food additives

What are the Ingredients of TWINKIES – Infographic

Back in 2012 when the Hostess baking company was possibly going under,  I wrote A Love Letter to Hostess Ho Ho’s and Twinkies – NOT. That included a breakdown of what makes Hostess Ho Ho’s empty-caloried junk food.  You can read mine and decide which is scarier, the Ho Ho’s or Twinkies.

Herewith an infographic that takes apart Twinkies:

Infographic-Twinkies-Ingredients

Tony

2 Comments

Filed under Hostess Ho Ho's, Twinkies

What Are My Risks for Getting Heart Disease? – Infographic

I must confess I was blown away by the information in this infographic from the American Heart Association.

The three parts are the whole story: What are my risks? What are the 7 Simple Keys to Prevention? Am I making progress or excuses? That says it all. Take your time on this, your heart health could depend on it.

ginormousTony

Leave a comment

Filed under American Heart Association, heart, heart problems

Better Midlife Fitness May Slow Brain Aging

Tony:

“Many people don’t start worrying about their brain health until later in life, but this study provides more evidence that certain behaviors and risk factors in midlife may have consequences for brain aging later on,” said Nicole L. Spartano, Ph.D., lead author and a postdoctoral fellow at the Boston University School of Medicine.

I love this post as it meets all my biases. Please check my Page: Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits). I have written extensively about the benefits of exercise on the cognitive functions of the brain. The study in the post above shows more of the same information.

Eat less; move more.

Tony

 

Originally posted on Cooking with Kathy Man:

People with poor physical fitness in their 40s may have lower brain volumes by the time they hit 60, an indicator of accelerated brain aging, according to new research presented at the American Heart Association EPI/Lifestyle 2015 meeting.

“Many people don’t start worrying about their brain health until later in life, but this study provides more evidence that certain behaviors and risk factors in midlife may have consequences for brain aging later on,” said Nicole L. Spartano, Ph.D., lead author and a postdoctoral fellow at the Boston University School of Medicine.

A subset of 1,271 participants from the Framingham Offspring Study participated in exercise treadmill testing in the 1970s, when their average age was 41. Starting in 1999, when their average age was 60, they underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of their brains as well as cognitive tests. The participants did not have heart disease or cognitive problems at the…

View original 336 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under aging, brain, brain health, Exercise