Wednesday, May 30, 2007

How many calories in a Magnolia Cupcake?

Fun article by Mike Pesca about the nutritional value of the cupcake.

Just How Fattening Is That Cupcake? by

Empire State Building behind stack of cupcakes

How do the Big Apple's gourmet cupcakes stack up, nutritionally? This tower amounts to 2,197 calories and 101 grams of fat. For more, see below. Food styling by NPR's Robert Smith

Crumbs vs. Magnolia

When is eating a Hostess cupcake going "light"? When you compare it with the Crumbs version (left), which has 542 calories and 25 grams of fat. The original has 181 calories and 6 grams of fat.

Day to Day, May 23, 2007 · Charles Stuart Platkin, who is known these days as The Diet Detective, is the son of a Long Island ice cream shop owner. He had the plumpness to prove it, too, until he trimmed down several years ago.

Platkin is not an "I like cupcakes as much as the next guy" type. He believes that people might be more circumspect about them if they had more information about what they are eating.

At the supermarket or at most fast-food chains, nutritional information is accessible to the consumer. But New York's gourmet bakeries serve up an enigma wrapped in a mystery, and stuffed with creamy goodness.

Platkin is out to reveal that mystery, for the edification (and to the likely chagrin) of the calorie-conscious. He has subjected cupcakes from the Magnolia and Crumbs bakeries in New York to nutritional analysis, and the results may weigh on a dieter's mind.

The gourmet bakery cupcakes turned out to be higher in calories and fat than good ol' store-bought Hostess cupcakes. Eating one of Crumbs' masterpieces is, it turns out, equivalent to eating three slices of pizza.

In case you're interested in working that off later, expect to jog six miles, Platkin says. If you think that's bad, be glad you didn't have dinner at Thomas Keller's Per Se restaurant in New York. That indulgence, according to Platkin's calculations, rings in at 2,400 calories and a 30-mile walk of penance.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Take the Fast Food Quiz

We all have to make bad fast food choices on occasion. Here is a short quiz provided by Men's Health that will help you learn your Fast Food IQ.

Fun Fast Food Quiz from Mens Health

Monday, May 28, 2007

28 Million Fat Is Wackers

The New York Times today reports that the face of dieting may be changing. Of the 72 million people dieting in the US, 38%—about 28 million—are men. El Cubano Gordo & Friends should be proud to be the posterchildren for this trend. When you think about it, men aren't supposed to talk about dieting or even care about it. It was traditionally female turf. But it's our health here, and we should be concerned too. Weight Watchers just launched a huge campaign targeting men and Dan Marino is now the spokesperson for NutraSlim. FIWers, we should be getting our call any day now...Weight Watchers Male Landing Page

Thursday, May 24, 2007

10% of American Deaths caused by Sloth

I read today that about "10% of deaths in America are caused by sloth, as are about 23% of chronic illnesses. The average american spends 3 hours watching TV each day and 101 minutes driving but less than 19 minutes exercising." - Harvard Men's Health Watch

6 months ago I was quickly on the road to becoming part of that 10%. When I first started losing weight at the beginning of 2007, I would go to the gym and try to ride the eliptical machine for as long and as hard as possible. After a few minutes I was exhausted and emotionally drained. Immediately my mind would drift and start to think about when I could run 3miles in x number of minutes, when I could bench press x, or when I weighed 190 pounds.

Very quickly I had to readjust my attitude to learn that when you are really out of shape you simply have to accept your current limitations. That lesson is serving me well now because I just started running again. Running for me is probably not the best exercise because of my fragile knees but I know it’s a great cardio work out that delivers great results. So, a few days ago I ran a quarter mile. Yesterday, I took my knee brace and eeked out .30 tenths of a mile. I'm hoping to lose enough weight so that I get enough stability in my left quad to be able to pound out 3 miles in under 24 minutes. Even if I'm never able to run again I know that I'm doing my best to not be part of the 10% of Americans who die at the mercy of the remote control.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Steve Before

Tomaso - Steve wasn't always faxable. Here is a photo of Steve in January 2005 shortly before he began his weight loss journey. I think he weighed in at a portly 235 when this photo was taken.

We know that you have a precarious hold on first and that Steve continues to intimidate us with his posts about weird dead lifts and exhausting elliptical machine work outs. I say don't be scared but know the man has a secret strategy that includes a pre weigh in visit to the Russian Bath Houses to make sure he squeezes all of the remaining liquid out of his body.

Regardless, FIW will remain inclusive to those like Steve who want to lose 20 pounds and the more rotund like myself who need to shed 45.

The Non-Elephant in the Room

Why I don't I just say it? Steve - you are the non-elephant in the room. You cannot win.

This picture was taken on April 11 - when you were thin and 203 lbs. You are now 192.6 lbs and I don't want to imagine how skinny you look. If you get down to 185 lbs, you will be able to fax yourself to NYC for the weigh-in.
And even then, you will lose to me if I am at a pudgy 180 lbs.
Sorry Steve, but someone had to say it. FWIW, FIW for you means Fasting Is Worthless.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Fat Rant.

I'm going streakin'!!!

For those of you charting my ECG-FIW results, you'll notice I'm a bit streaky. A couple back-to-back 4 lbs loss weeks, then flatlining for about a month. Last week, a 5 lb loss. Sort of like Shaq, I am dominant when I want to be, Miamians. And like the pistons, destined to be a champ. I'm going streakin'- anyone want to come along?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Weekly Fat Tracker Report

Week 7 is in the record books with Tom, Steve and Frank reporting significant weight losses. Tom's quest to capture the first ever Fat Is Wack title was furthered this week by his 5 pound weight loss. Frank came in a close second this week with a 4 pound weight loss that displayed that he is still in the hunt. Steve dropped into second place in the overall standings after losing a solid 2.4 pounds.

Unfortunately, Noah and I stand "grim and unsmiling" this week after combining for a half pound weight gain. Noah and Al had this to say: "We want to apologize to everyone for this situation, including our families, our teammates, the Fat Is Wack organization, and our four fans"

"We understand that serving in the Fat Is Wack is an honor and that we have an obligation to behave in a manner that delivers weight loss"

Good luck Fat Is Wackers. We have 10 weeks left until we crown our first champion.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Letter to El Cubano Gordo

Steve - a note from Lisa Lopez wishing us luck. Has it been 15 years?

"I just came across this blog and couldn't believe I knew 2 members of the FIW when they were skinny (15 years ago?)! I had a great time reading this. Good luck with the competition."
Lisa Lopez

Consumer Reports Diet Rankings

Steve, last week Consume Reports published a ranking of the best diet plans and best diet books out there. The Volumetrics eating plan came out on top with Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and Slim-Fast all a close 2nd, 3rd and 4th. I found it very interesting that they report that "even the highest-rated diets generally produced less than a 10 percent weight loss after a year and had dropout rates of more than one in five participants."

Below are links to the Consumer Report Articles.

Link To Consumer Reports Diet Overview
Link to Consumer Reports Diet Book Overview

If Screetch can lose weight...

Well every week I lose a good hour of my life to watch "Celebrity Fit Club". I just keep thinking to my self, if Screetch, Warren G, some girl I don't really remember from American Idol and Marcia Brady can all lose weight, then this diet must be pretty good. So I decided to go out and purchase the book "The Fat Smash Diet: The Last Diet You'll Ever Need", by Dr. Ian Smith. I will be getting it next week and we shall see how good this diet really is. I figure I will follow it the rest of our competition and see how it goes. One good thing that has come out of watching this show is that I must do elliptical when I watch it. I can't sit down and watch a weight loss program with out working out. When is the "Biggest Loser" coming back?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Quotes of the Day

“I went on a diet, swore off drinking and heavy eating, and in fourteen days I lost two weeks”
- Joe E. Lewis

“Drinking beer doesn't make you fat, It makes you lean....Against bars, tables, chairs, and poles.”

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Run Ricky Run...

Last week Ricky Williams failed another NFL drug test, once again delaying his potential Dolphin / NFL comeback. I wonder what would happen if God appeared to me and said, "Al, today I will make you a dominant NFL running back, but you have to give up bread." Would I be able to do it? Could I pass the bread test when the bread testers showed up to adminster the exam? Would I find a way to mask the results? Would I still hang out with my bread eating friends? Would I end up playing CFL football where they allow bread eating?

Diet vs. Exercise - which is more important?

Your entry about the Big Mac got me thinking... are diet and exercise equally important when trying to lose weight? After reading about the Big Mac and the 1 hour of spinning I personally came to the conclusion that diet is actually more important.

Stop and think about the growing epidemic of childhood obesity in America. Have you noticed that all the public service announcements and articles about this topic are focused on getting kids to be more active? (e.g. Is it reasonable to ask a kid to go to a 1 hour spinning class each time they eat a Big Mac? Or should we be focused on not letting that kid eat a Big Mac in the first place?

Some "food" for thought.

(Hey Al, can you look up how many calories per hour 'thinking' burns?)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Can this really fit in a human's mouth?

Yesterday for lunch I had a Big Mac with Cheese. I don't know why I ate it. It wasn't even my order. I clearly said Quarter Pounder with Cheese and was genuinely upset when I came home for lunch and found a misplaced Big Mac. I thought just toss it in the trash and cook the Turkey burger in the freezer. Instead I ate it. After my Big Mac attack I plugged my points into the Weight Watchers online system and was charged 13 points.

Fortunately, the online points system credits you back points if you engage in some form of physical exercise. I quickly looked up Spinning Class at my gym and found one that started at 7:45pm. I plugged in an hour of moderate spinning into the Weight Watcher system and learned I could wipe away most of my Big Mac with an hour of spinning. At first it seemed unfair to me that it would take one hour of very intense aerobic exercise to cancel out a Big Mac that took me less than 10 minutes to eat. I suppose the 3 buns, two patties and some weird pinkish sauce all add up to mega calories. I just have to keep reminding myself to stay away from the fast food.

Calorie Deprivation

Guys some quick numbers to help keep you motivated. Below are the total number of pounds we each need to lose per week for the next 11.5 weeks to reach our goal weights along with the weekly caloric deficits we need to create. Good Luck. Next time that burger is touching the lips think about your weekly calorie number.

Starting Weight 180.8
Goal Weigth 155.0
LBS Noah needs to lose / week to reach goal 1.38
Calories / week you need to cut: 4,389

Starting Weight 205.0
Goal Weight 180.0
LBS Steve needs to lose / week to reach goal 1.29
Calories / week you need to cut:4,537

Starting Weight 198.0
Goal Weight 175.0 (23.0)
LBS / week Tom needs to lose to reach goal 1.38
Calories / week you need to cut:4,839

Starting Weight 242.0
Goal Weight 204.0
LBS / week Al needs to lose per week 2.59
Calories / week I need to cut: 9,074

Starting Weight 180
Goal Weigth 155.0
LBS Noah needs to lose / week to reach goal 2.33
Calories / week you need to cut: 8,166

Monday, May 14, 2007

Noah and Steve begin to pull away from the crowd

Week 6 is behind us and together we lost 9 pounds. I'm proud to report that the group has discarded some 36.8 unwanted pounds over the last 45 days.

Steve won Fat Is Wacker of the week by losing 3.6 pounds. Noah held onto his overall lead and lost 2.8 pounds in week 6. Together they are making a strong effort to pull away from the crowd.

I lost 2 pounds and Tom a half pound making the competition for third place pretty close, with only a few decimal points separating us. Frank is on route to his local Publix supermarket where he pays a quarter to weigh himself each week. The competition is tight with 82 days remaining.
Good luck and good eating.

We're also adding a guest female Fat Is Wacker to the competition this week. Mary Lee (Steve's wife) and proud mother of 3 will be joining the competition in spirit. She won't be part of the official weigh in on August 4th but wants to shed a few pounds before the summer is over. She weighed in this morning at 175 pounds.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Waist Size? How round should we be?

I've always wondered how round I should be. Clearly, 40 inches places me in the unhealthy Santa Clause zone, but what is the right number. According to Esquire's May issue the formula is simple: take your height in inches and divide by two. This number becomes your target waist size. 70 inches tall = 35 inches on the waist.

I've got another 5 inches to shed before I can claim victory over my gut.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Why can't Heidi and Lauren just get along?

I was a pure TV addict. My addiction began with the normal fare, a few hours of Sports Center, maybe the occasional gameshow before an episode of Lost. Eventually things started to spiral out of control and I began to watch shows like The Real World, The HillsI Love New York. But I wouldn't just watch them, I would anticipate watching them with great excitement.

My interest in Survivor's 9th installment was sure to keep my waist line expanding and my brain in first gear. Fed up with myself after watching the season premier of The Bachelor, An Officer and A Gentleman I called Time Warner. After a few minutes of button pushing and yelling "agent" into the phone, our cable was cancelled. Ironically, we still get the Food Channel. Clearly some sort of divine message.

So, now we have NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, and the Food Network. Much more reasonable than 200 channels. The cableless house experiment is allowing us to get back to enjoying all the wonderful things New York has to offer but more importantly encouraging gym time. Now, the only place I can catch the occasional sportscenter rerun or I Love New York episode is on the treadmill at the gym. I did however buy the third season of Northern Exposure; on DVD to limit withdrawl symptoms.

Diary of MC Torah

Here is a video Fat Is Wacker Noah produced before the extra 20.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Watch out, fellow Fat is Whackers!

I have been silent long enough! I am here to warn you that Steve is a man on a mission and he will stop at nothing. (Not even sabotaging his own wife!) Yes, Steve, you read correctly. This is my story:

I'm not an official Fat-is-Whacker but Al's weight loss journey had inspired me to start my own and on Monday 4/2/07 I started. I was highly motivated and by that Friday I had lost 5 lbs. by cutting the carbs. (I think I may have exercised once.) Then Sunday came. It was Easter. In all honesty, I had planned to continue with my strict diet plan. That was my true intention. But when I went downstairs for breakfast Steve said to me, "we should just go ahead and 'be bad' today and then we'll get back on track tomorrow." And I fell for it! Since then, I have stayed derailed whilst Steve (aka the little engine that could) has gone on to lose some ridiculous amount of weight.

I take no accountability for my actions, including for that delicious Philly cheese steak wrap that I just polished off and which would be very nicely complemented by a chocolate chip cookie in about 15 minutes. It's all Steve's Fault. The rest of you - be forewarned!

Do Our Genes Make Us Fat?

Every now and then I'll get into the are we fat because God made us fat debate. The NY Times Published an interesting article on the subject yesterday. Oh, and for the record I know I'm fat because of Twinkies.


Genes Take Charge, and Diet Falls by the Wayside

Published: May 8, 2007

"His subjects were prisoners at a nearby state prison who volunteered to gain weight. With great difficulty, they succeeded, increasing their weight by 20 percent to 25 percent. But it took them four to six months, eating as much as they could every day. Some consumed 10,000 calories a day, an amount so incredible that it would be hard to believe, were it not for the fact that there were attendants present at each meal who dutifully recorded everything the men ate.

Once the men were fat, their metabolisms increased by 50 percent. They needed more than 2,700 calories per square meter of their body surface to stay fat but needed just 1,800 calories per square meter to maintain their normal weight.

When the study ended, the prisoners had no trouble losing weight. Within months, they were back to normal and effortlessly stayed there."

Link To Full Article

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

2,741 Calorie Cinco De Mayo Celebration

Clearly, special events presented our team with some big issues last week. I had a decent week that included a few swims, a boot camp class with Tom, some racquetball and a reasonable eating plan. Sadly, alot of that was undone over the weekend when I traveled to Washington D.C. for my sister-in-law’s bridal shower. I showed up shortly after the festivities ended and started my own celebration. Things started off with a few glasses of champagne. Then I found the left over mini scones and tea sandwiches. I opted for the scones.

After a few more glasses of champagne the crowd thinned out a bit and we decided to turn the party into a Cinco De Mayo celebration and caravaned over to a Mexican restaurant called Guapos. Guapos means handsome and truly thats the last thing I was while hoarding chips and salsa, tacos al carbon, two Pacifico beers and um yeah a Tequila Shot (pictured). I don't want to add up all of the calories but I think it might help me understand how one day can undo an otherwise solid week.

6 glasses of champagne: 541
2 Beers: 240
Chips and Guac: 390
Cheese Dip: 50
Tacos Al Carbon: 1,000 (estimated using Chipotle Calculator)
Tequila Shot: 100
Scone: 420

Total: 2,741 calories or .78 pounds

Those nights are going to happen, but writing it all down really makes me realize how gluttenous they are and emphasizes to me that I have to do my best to avoid them—2,700 calorie nights out are one of the big contributors to my 40 waist line. I tried to make up for the indiscretions with an early morning Sunday workout but even with an hour at the gym I'm lucky to burn 600 calories. Besides, after my workout I ended up walking over to the supermarket and getting French Toast to help ease the hang over. 178 calories per slice.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Noah's Street Sense

Noah charged to the lead this week after losing 4.6 lbs. This is an enormous number and clearly the result of a good diet and strong self control. The rest of the group has some catching up to do: Steve gained a pound, and Frank and Tom held steady at their previous weights. I only managed to lose one pound—the result of a Saturday night Cinco De Mayo celebration.

A tough week.

Well, when I stepped on the scale this morning I knew I would regret most of the decisions I made this weekend. This Saturday was my daughter's first holy communion. We planned a big celebration which included the Crepe Maker, catering the event. After 1 steak milanese crepe, a cordon bleu crepe and 2 delicious desert crepes, I knew I was in trouble. All the hard work that I had put in had been thrown away. The worst thing was that I didn't stop. I then went on to have 2 slices of cake (1 being a delicious rum cake, and the other being ice cream cake). Then that afternoon, I went to burger king and had a double whopper and a large icee. To top it off at night, I had a grilled steak taco and burrito from taco bell. Wow, just writing that makes me sick.

Lets get back to the scale, I ended up weighing in at 198.6 lbs. I guess not too bad but wow. I need to get some discipline. Good luck guys! I hope you all did better than me this week.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Can Fat Is Wack Lead to World Peace?

"Can the united struggle of 14 women of widely varying backgrounds to reduce the width of their waists advance peace in the Middle East?

That's the question filmmaker Yael Luttwak asks in her new movie, "A Slim Peace," which had its world premiere last week at the Tribeca Film Festival. Luttwak -- who is half-Israeli, half-American, and now lives in London -- was working with Palestinians and Jews in Israel, and trying to lose some weight herself, when the peace process broke down in 2000. "Something in my head just connected the two," she says.", By Amy Reiter

Link to Full Article

Full Disclosure: I own shares of Salon that I bought in 2000. Today they are worth $14.00.

Can an audio coach help you lose weight?

Steve, I know you love interval training and I know that increasing your heart rate to 200 beats per minute fills you with a tremendous amount of satisfaction and joy. I, on the other hand, find it to be a mild form of self flagellation. You'll be happy to know that the NY Times agrees with you and published an excellent article today touting the benefits of interval training.

The article directs readers to visit a site called that provides audio coaching files you can download to increase the quality of your stationary bike or eliptical machine workouts. I'm not sure how Tony Robisonish they are, but Frank, I know you are a big believer in the "Secret" and Joel whatever-his-name-is, so maybe this is what you need to get past that 2 pound loss mark. Here is a the link to the free 20 minute workout

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Funny Quote From A Friend

"Inside me lives a skinny woman crying to get out. But I can usually shut the bitch up with cookies" - Anonymous

How to get a personal trainer on the cheap?

During the first few months of my weight loss effort, my usual workout was a less than strenuous routine that included 20 minutes on the elliptical machine at a low level and a 25 minute random romp around the weight machines. The poor planning and lazy execution left me with few visible improvements. Frustrated with my progress, I hired a personal trainer for a few sessions and she quickly helped me maximize my effort and deliver results.

Personal training is expensive, though, so I had to find alternative workouts to add spice and curb boredom. Last week while looking for new exercises to do at the gym I came across the Men's Health Personal Training website . The site charges you $12 to $16 bucks per month depending on the package you select but I've found it to be well worth the cost.
In order to get the full benefit of the site you’ll need to spend about 10 minutes answering some basic questions, such as "How many push ups can you do?" and "Have you been working out for 6 months, 1 year, etc?" to get your personalized workout info. The program then spits out a customized weekly work out that tells you exactly what exercises to do, how much weight you should use and the number or repetitions. Best of all the workouts change each time and are all 100% customized. The workouts can even be customized to the number of minutes you want to spend each day in the gym. They also provide printable versions of your workout, which you can take with you to the gym and check off as you move from exercise to exercise. So for you FIWers who want to get out of a workout rut or who are not sure you’re doing the right things at the gym, I recommend signing up. You'll find yourself lifting more weight and doing exercises that you've long forgotten about. The site also customizes your cardio workouts and can include an eating plan but the the eating plan isn't for me because I simply don't have the discipline to plan my meals for an entire week.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Boot Camp

So Al and I went to the Y's "boot camp" 7 am class today. I showed up at 7:05, and already, the instructor was calling out Al's name during the exercises. Either Al had been to this class a million times before, or this was a strange crew. I found out soon enough.

Ahead of me was a gray-haired old lady. To my right an old man. Sprinkle in some not too impressive looking ladies and gents and you get the idea. Easy enough, I thought. Until the push-ups, and the medicine ball, and some stupid semi-circular blue thing called a basu and the weight bar, and the step aerobic thing. It was embarrassing when they applauded the new guys so sympathetically at the end.