June 15, 2008

bikini club - week 12

I can't believe it's been 12 weeks since I've started the bikini club. :)

It has been very interesting so far, and I've learned a lot of new things in the process.

1. How difficult it is to eat a healthy diet (especially if you have always been a bit of a junk eater),
2. How addictive an usual suspect like Coca Cola is,
3. How quick meal/fast cooking rarely coexist in the same sentence with healthy diet,
4. How exercising doesn't really count unless you do it "often and regularly,"
5. How body and skin love "often and regularly" pampering and exercising.

(This in the picture is not my belly!)

I think we have one more month of bikini club and I'm going to stick to last week's plan. Still no soda and no junk/french fries.

As for this past week, I was able to stay away from the soda on Monday, on Tuesday, on Wednesday, on Thursday and on Friday. :) On Saturday and Sunday I drank some.

But I was happy because I can't remember the last time I went without soda for five days in a row. The only problem I had was some head congestion in the mornings. I am not sure if it was withdrawal related, but I couldn't find any other explanation. This got me looking more closely at my Coke ingredients...

I was trying to figure out if I was withdrawing caffeine or cocaine... do you know that they still use coca leaves to flavor Coke? And that even though they say they treat the leaf so there isn't any active cocaine, there are still traces?

It freaks me out. Even though not everybody agrees on this, and of course, Coca Cola doesn't comment on it, these are some of the rumors out there:

* Because cocaine is naturally present in coca leaves, today's Coca-Cola uses "spent", or treated, coca leaves, those that have been through a cocaine extraction process, to flavor the beverage. Some contend that this process cannot extract all of the cocaine alkaloids at a molecular level, and so the drink still contains trace amounts of the stimulant.

* Although the cocaine is leached from the leaves by a stringent process, it is impossible to remove every last trace of it.* Coca-Cola still contains decocainized coca leaves. It's possible a little cocaine still gets through the fence. I think a bigger question is what happens to the extracted cocaine...

It would make absolutely sense to me! I know I am addicted to this stuff, and even though I can easily blame the caffeine, you never know... it could be cocaine that I am craving...

Another soda ingredient that I've gotten to know better is high-fructose corn syrup.

Here I let the experts give us some facts:

Until the 1970s most of the sugar we ate came from sucrose derived from sugar beets or sugar cane. Then sugar from corn--corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, dextrine and especially high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)--began to gain popularity as a sweetener because it was much less expensive to produce.

High fructose corn syrup is extremely soluble and mixes well in many foods. It is cheap to produce, sweet and easy to store. It’s used in everything from bread to pasta sauces to bacon to beer as well as in "health products" like protein bars and "natural" sodas.
Some nutrition experts blame increased consumption of high fructose corn syrup for the growing obesity problem. One theory is that fructose is more readily converted to fat by your liver than is sucrose, increasing the levels of fat in your bloodstream. But this hasn't been proved.

(With regards to fruit, the ratio is usually 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose, while most commercial fruit juices have HFCS added. Fruit contains fiber which slows down the metabolism of fructose and other sugars, while the fructose in HFCS is absorbed very quickly.)
Basically, you're better off with sucrose, or table sugar.

This next piece of information shed a light on a dilemma I've always had about why Coca Cola tastes different (better) in Italy. I always thought it was because of the different water taste, but then I read this:

The preference for high-fructose corn syrup over cane sugar among the vast majority of American food and beverage manufacturers is largely due to U.S. import quotas and tariffs on sugar. For instance, soft drink makers like Coca-Cola use sugar in other nations, but use high-fructose corn syrup in their U.S. products.

Coca Cola in Italy has sugar, not high fructose corn syrup! That's why!

So going forward, I would suggest you start reading labels to track down all the high fructose corn syrup you eat/drink in a day, and then start thinking about making some changes and substitutions. I know my Whole Wheat bread I eat in the morning has high fructose corn syrup in it. My next goal is to find a brand that doesn't have it as an ingredient. Wish me luck!

In other news, I've measured my stomach again, and I am happy to report that I lost one inch on the lower part. I'm not sure if it counts as cheating, but I measured it first thing in the morning when we usually are at our skinnier state. I am sure that no soda for almost a week made a difference. It does look better.

I've only exercised 3 days this week, instead of the 4 I wanted to, but there is always some unexpected event or thing to do that pops-up... I would love to pick up the habit, some time in the future, of waking up earlier every day to exercise, and even to meditate.

I did that once, many years ago: I would practice yoga before going work, and it made such a big difference in how awake I felt at 9 o'clock at my desk. I also felt calm and very relaxed.

So this week my emphasis is on exercise! Do your exercises!

And if you are running out of ideas or if you are getting bored with your plan, our dear PlumJewels has found a set of bikini exercises that are easy to follow: Bikini Workout!

How is everyone else doing?


Retrodiva said...

I try to avoid high fructose corn syrup too. Jones soda now has 12 pk cans in most grocery stores that use cane sugar instead of the high fructose corn syrup, and I actually prefer the taste. I'm thinking about getting something to make carbonated water at home and adding juice, but I don't know that I have the patience for it!

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the coke battle! lol....

I had a really healthy week this week. All home-cooked meals and only one meal of frozen pizza! I'm moving up!

I found a new love. Hiking. It was torture at first with a 20 pound backpack thrown on my back and my thighs and butt were screaming but I feel good now!

JustLo said...

Other than having to battle with the food at Disneyland this weekend, I'm doing good. I'm exercising pretty much every day now and it makes me feel great. Not only do I physically feel better and stronger, but it also helps my emotional state. I just feel happier.

Dee said...

Someone was making a dress for me, and at the beginning she took my measurements, that was three months ago.. Last week when I went back to see the dress, I found that I have lost inches in my body...

I lost 3 cm in the hip area, but I weigh the same on the scale, so I probably have muscles now :) I can't believe I'm actually making a progress. I also lost in my waist, and gained in my chest. Could be from all the sit-ups I used to do?

Anonymous said...

I've actually been looking into HFCS a lot lately too. I'm trying to avoid it while I'm pregnant, and it's interesting to see how much stuff it's in. Yogurt has been a huge part of my diet so I've figured out which ones have HFCS and which don't. It can even be in things like crackers! Crazy. In addition to avoiding HFCS, one of the things I also consider when looking at labels is the 'recognizable' ingredients...I tend ot pass on things that have a lot of ingredients, especially if I don't know what the word means!

I'll take some caffeine free coke from Italy though! ;D

Cynthia1770 said...

My google alert for HFCS picked up
your post. HFCS has invaded our food supply. Courtesy of the Corn
Refiners Assoc., go to
P29-30 list all the foods and products that contain HFCS.
StopHFCS.com lists foods that are
HFCS-free. They welcome additions
and suggestions.
Take care.

Anonymous said...

Recently I have been able to fit comfortably into my skinny jeans again. Before I can, but was not comfortable in it. Substituting a fruit, usually a red apple or a cup of low fat yogurt for my former snacks, especially after dinner, has been a great help. As for exercise, I mostly work on my arms (push-ups) and speedwalking.
Still exhausted from a trip to Las Vegas, playing hostess to a wedding party. I have to draw better boundaries with people, can't go, can't go, instead of coming home an exhausted wreck.