Lean Gourmet vs Smart Ones

lean gourmet smart ones

I have been eating Weight Watchers Smart Ones frozen dinners for lunch and dinner everyday since January 3rd or 4th 2013 and have lost a lot of weight.  The reason we started eating the Smart Ones is because we saw them at Food Maxx for only $1.88 and one of the packages had a coupon for $3 off 10, so we couldn’t resist considering they are around $5 at Albertson’s.

Diet food to me is a state of mind.  If you are eating food that you know isn’t good for you like say fried chicken, then you know you are eating crap and you end up making other bad choices because you don’t really care what you eat.  If you are buying a product that you know is a diet product, like Weight Watchers or Lean Cuisine, then you know you are eating healthy so you end up making better choices with other foods you eat.  I mean, that is just how I feel, you may not think the same way that I do.

It was that first batch of Weight Watchers Smart Ones that lead me to downloading Noom on my android phone which has helped me to lose more than 66lbs since January.  I have wanted to buy the Smart Ones, but I never could afford Albertson’s prices.  The decision to start using Noom also lead me to start eating fruits and vegetables, so it was literally a domino effect for me.  And like I said in the previous paragraph, it’s a state of mind.  I knew I was eating healthier, which lead me to eating more healthy foods and here we are.

So now it is mid June 2013 and I have to start making some choices.  The Smart Ones are going up in price.  Most of them went up to $1.98 and the rest have shot up even higher in price.  There are literally only 3 or 4 flavors that I actually like that are still $1.98, so my choices are now very limited.  When you only have 3 or 4 different choices, you become bored with your diet and end up branching out to eating well, crap.  So before I get to that point, I need to make a new plan of action.

We went to buy more Smart Ones the other day, but my partner found that right next to the Smart Ones were the Michelina’s Lean Gourmet for only .97 cents.  Holy crap!  That is cheap!  So, rather than buy 20 of the Smart Ones, we only bought 10 and 10 Lean Gourmet.

smart ones nutritional facts The Weight Watchers Smart Ones nutrition label shows you exactly how many calories you are eating.  I didn’t buy the same flavor in the Lean Gourmet that I also bought in the Smart Ones because I wanted all new flavors, so I couldn’t exactly compare the same meal.

This Smart Ones is the Lasagna Bake with Meat Sauce, which by the way is very good.  There are many things you want to look for when you read the nutritional facts when you are buying food.  The 3 most important things are calories, fat and sodium.  Although the sodium is pretty high in this particular meal, it does show up as green in the Noom app.  The fat content is fairly low and it doesn’t have any trans fats.  I didn’t take a picture of the ingredients, but the Smart Ones use wheat pasta.

lean gourmet nutritional facts

This particular Lean Gourmet is Creamy Rigatoni with Broccoli and Chicken.  I have had the Smart Ones version plenty of times over the months, and I have to say that this one from Lean Gourmet is way too salty.  I don’t know how much sodium is in the Smart Ones version, but this one is really high at 680.  It’s only 270 calories and the fat is pretty low, but the salt is (I’m assuming) what makes it yellow in Noom instead of Green.  I would assume that the regular Michelina’s meals are probably red.

The chicken in the Lean Gourmet has a different taste than the Smart Ones, they are also smaller than Smart Ones.  The Lean Gourmet chicken tastes like the chicken in Chicken Soup, very salty, the Smart Ones chicken tastes like actual chicken and isn’t too salty.

I have been eating the Lean Gourmet for lunch every day and the Smart Ones for dinner.  My partner doesn’t want to buy the Smart Ones anymore if these are a dollar cheaper, but I would personally rather have the Smart Ones because they just taste better.  The Lean Gourmet ones are an excellent price and around the same calories as the Smart Ones, but they are way too salty.  I would rather keep buying Smart Ones and pay that extra dollar even if it means I only have 3 or 4 choices.  But honestly, they only went up maybe .10 or .20 cents or more, so it’s not that much more expensive.  I have lots of choices, it just raises my grocery bill.

In my personal opinion, the Weight Watchers Smart Ones are the better deal because your sodium is lower and the taste is 10 times better and you are actually getting 1oz more food.  Quality wins over quantity.

Have I finally hit my plateau?

I have been very lucky that I have been consistent with my weight loss with Noom from January 5th until now.  In the beginning, I was losing anywhere from 3 to 4 pounds per week, but gradually slowing down to 2 or 3 pounds per week, then down to 1 1/2 to 2 pounds per week.  Of course lately it seems to be 1 to 1 1/2 pounds or less per week, but at least there was weight loss.  This week however, I don’t think there will be any weight loss at all.

Last week I was 196.6lbs and just a few days ago I was asked to weigh in and I weighed in at 196.4lbs.  Today I weighed 197lbs and I only have 2 more days before my next weigh in day, so I don’t think I’m going to make it to 194 or 195.  194.4 is my estimated weight, but I just don’t see that happening.  I mean, stranger things have happened and who knows, I might be 195, but I doubt it.  No, I think that after so many months I have finally just hit my plateau.

A plateau isn’t uncommon for people who are trying to lose weight.  What causes that?  Is it stress?  I haven’t been under too much stress.  Is it that my body has already lost 66lbs so it’s just harder to lose more weight because there isn’t a lot of fat left to lose?  Or maybe perhaps it is because I have been going for 2 or 3 mile walks a few times per week that might possibly be making me gain muscle weight.  That could actually be it.

In the past when I have hit my plateau, after so many weeks of not losing weight I start to think if I’m not losing weight, I might as well eat this food and that food because obviously the healthy foods aren’t helping me.  I might as well go back to eating the old crap that got me fat in the first place, and I end up gradually going back to my old eating habits.  Well, that just isn’t going to work for me this time because I am serious about losing this weight this time.  This time it WILL be different, I will continue eating healthy, even if that means that I will be 197 or somewhere in that vicinity for 2 months before the weight starts to come off again.  I will not let the plateau rule my life because I really want to succeed in my goals.

To be honest, I probably won’t plateau for too long, that is if I have even hit a plateau.  I still have 2 days and like I said before, stranger things have happened.  Who knows, I might end up being 195 by weigh in day, so I’m not going to start having a negative attitude about plateaus because I am not even sure that’s what will happen.

Of course negative thinking like this is a factor in halting the weight loss process.  I could be sabotaging myself by having a negative attitude.  Stress thinking and acting negatively can release a chemical in the brain called Cortisol which is actually what will put me in a plateau, so I need to stay positive because having a happy go lucky positive attitude will help me more than being a negative Nancy.

So let’s just see what happens in 2 days and I will go from there.

My New Website

new website home

My website has been under construction for quite some time now.  I’ve been trying to think of something interesting to do with it.  My problem was, I had so much crap in my old website that I felt overwhelmed.  It’s kind of like I had a hoarding problem, but I was hoarding old images and old information that is no longer relevant.  I decided the best thing I could do was to back everything up on my computer, then delete it all on the website and start from scratch, and this is the result.

The index page is just an image that says welcome to the page, I didn’t take a screenshot because it’s a temporary image.  I will have to work on that page some more.  The home page is like a Windows desktop with icons and wallpaper.  I wanted to make it so that no matter what screen resolution you are using, you could see the full image and it will resize when you resize the browser.  It’s also stationary so when you are scrolling through a page, the wallpaper is always there.  Although the icons on the home page don’t go down that far that you need to scroll if you are using Google Chrome with a resolution of 1280×768 if you have a widescreen monitor, and 1024×768 if you don’t.  Of course the wallpaper is 1280×768 so if you don’t have a widescreen monitor, the wallpaper is squished lol.

Right now (in October) there is a picture of 2 pumpkins for Halloween, but I will change it for each holiday.  I figured it would be easier to use a desktop image for the home page than to have to keep changing the theme for the whole site every holiday.  When I was using FrontPage themes, I would have to change the theme, and then go to each individual page and adjust things.  Sometimes it could take hours or days, so this is just one page I have to change the wallpaper on.

new website eqWhen you click one of the icons on the home page, you will get a page that looks like this.  I decided that I wanted to emulate the Facebook Timeline idea, but with a thinner banner and a 256×256 icon which is the same one you see on the “desktop.”  The game pages (EQ, EQ2, LOTRO and DCUO) all look the same where you see a 256×256 icon of all of my characters images with a bio.  I also thought it would make them more interesting if I gave them a story.  I haven’t finished them all, but I’m working on it.

I don’t really have to have all of this information out there, but it’s fun.  Even if nobody ever looks at it, it’s still something that makes me happy.

I haven’t quite figured out what I want to do with the crafts page, whether I want to add patterns or just images of the things I have made in the past, or both.  I am still waiting for inspiration.  My Holiday page is still empty, but I am working on that.  I made the icon with 4 holidays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, but I mean what information could I possibly have for anything but Halloween?  All I have are my pumpkin pictures, so perhaps I will change that to a Halloween only page.

Update, I made the change already.

I would love to get some feedback, so please tell me if you like it or hate it and why.

My Book for the Kindle – Issue Solved

I mentioned yesterday that I had a few issues with my book on the Kindle.  There was a lot of strange code in the .epub file that was making it look funny.  I spent countless hours over the last couple of days trying to fix the issue and unfortunately those fixes removed 200 words from the book.  I found out last night that all I have to do is convert the book to .mobi format to publish to the Kindle, which I did and it is now perfect.

I have learned so much from writing this book, it’s amazing how horrible my English was before.  I mean, I never understood punctuation because I just let the spell check do all the work for me.  Apparently the spell and grammar checker that I have been using is crap because it told me that I was right when I was clearly wrong.  Unfortunately, that has made me question every blog post I have ever written.

As far as I am concerned, my book is finished, but I am going to go through it one last time to make 100% sure that it is before I publish it.  I want to say that I will publish it on February 1st 2012, but I don’t want to promise it.  I will write a post the day it is published though.

I want to go out to Hart Park and have Darrin take a picture of me for the About The Author page.  I thought about doing a joke picture of me sitting in robe wearing an Ascot and smoking from a pipe in front of a green screen to add a picture of a library with a big fireplace behind me, but I don’t have any of those things.  I think it would look more genuine if I had a real picture taken, and not in a studio where they would charge me $60 just for the digital copy for publication.

So that’s it, I can stop obsessing over formatting and get back to the real issue which is making sure it is ready to publish.  Updates coming soon…

My book is almost ready to publish, only one tiny issue left…

My book files came back to me a couple of days ago (two beta readers as I like to call them) with highlights of things for me to fix.  I have read my book at least 30 times and I was just getting so sick of reading it and they wanted to read it so I figured they could read it early, but I’d love to have bug reports.

So I went through the highlights which weren’t all that major.  I missed a few capitalizations and punctuation issues.  There were also a few words where I forgot to add a letter, like instead of writing the word “from” I wrote “for”, don’t ask why lol.

As I was getting the paper book put together with all of my corrections made, I noticed a little issue which turned out to be a major issue.  There were grey boxes where spaces were supposed to go.  It wasn’t everywhere, but it was annoying that there were so many.  I was able to delete them as I went, but that didn’t help because it was still messed up.

The paper book got put together and turned in to check for errors, which I’m happy to report weren’t any.  I converted the .odt file to epub and was going to publish to Amazon for the Kindle and Barnes & Noble for the Nook.  It looked great on the Nook, but the Kindle wasn’t doing so good.  Here is what I was seeing…

You see the top paragraph?  It’s not exactly a paragraph is it?  That was what happened because of the square boxes.  Also look at the other paragraphs, they weren’t indented, except for the last one.  I went into Sigil to look at the html code of the chapters and this is what I saw.

That is supposed to be a little paragraph.  Those <.span.> things were out of control.  That is what was causing the text to move down.  So the only way for this to work is to cut all that crap out.  I tried to do find and replace, but unfortunately each one of those lines has its own number so it’s not like I can replace all of them throughout the entire document, they have to be deleted one at a time.  ANNOYING!

I worked for 8 hours to get rid of them and then discovered that if I converted the file to .html, it got rid of all that.  So that was a waste of time, but it was a learning experience.

I fixed all of the capitalization and punctuation issues, but I have a feeling I am still missing something so I’m going to have to read the whole thing again.  It sucks but I don’t want to publish a book that isn’t right.

I said I would get it published by January 1st and here we are nearing February and it still isn’t ready to publish.  I don’t know how long it will take but I will get it out there eventually.

My New Motherboard

I have been having the worst computer luck lately.  First my video card stops working so I bought a new one from Tiger Direct which took a week to get to me.

When I installed it, it didn’t work right away.  I turned it off then back on again and it still didn’t come on.  I had my hands in my face then I looked up and it came on.  It took a couple of minutes but it did come on.

I installed the software for the new video card and it needed to reboot and it rebooted fast enough so I thought, ok, it just needed time to read the new hardware.

I experimented with it to see what would happen if I shut it down all the way and I waited about 10 minutes.  I turned it back on and it didn’t want to come on.  It did finally come on a couple of minutes later but I figured, the only way that I am able to keep my computer working is if I NEVER EVER turn it off.

Then I get a notice from the PG&E telling me they are shutting our power off to put in a new pole…  CRAP!

My computer didn’t want to turn on again and I did some research and found out it was because my power supply wasn’t good enough for my new video card.  I had to wait a month to buy a new power supply because I didn’t have the money.  When I bought it on NewEgg, it arrived the next day and it still didn’t turn my computer on.

It did come on once but it told me to reset the bios which I did and it still didn’t want to work.  SHIT!

I did more research and found out that I needed a new motherboard.  I borrowed some money last night because I just want my stupid computer to work again.  I bought it from NewEgg because I get it the next day unlike Tiger Direct which takes a week to get to me.

ASRock A785GM-LE AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

I am not familiar with this brand but it was the only one that was compatible with my memory and CPU.  It also has an onboard Radeon video card so I know it will be compatible with my Radeon video card that I bought from Tiger Direct.  I read a review that said that the onboard video is crap for playing games so you will need another video card which I just so happen to have.

This should work and get me back up and running.  I already got my shipping confirmation so it should be here tomorrow afternoon around 4pm which is when we get our UPS packages.

I think the reason that Radeon video card didn’t work with my motherboard was probably because it wasn’t compatible with the motherboard.  My other video card was nvidia so I don’t know what possessed me to buy Radeon.

I will update this as soon as I get my new motherboard installed to say whether it worked or not.  I’m pretty sure it should but I will update this whether it works or not.

New DVD Burner

Well I finally did it. I finally bought a new DVD burner. I don’t know what happened to mine but it won’t even read discs let alone burn them anymore.

The DVD burner that I have is a Lite-on lightscribe DVD burner that I bought in January 2007. After only a couple of years it decided that it wasn’t going to open easily anymore. When you press the button it makes these clicking sounds but doesn’t open. You had to keep pressing the button until it would open.

Eventually it got so bad that you’d have to put a paperclip into the little hole that allows you to force the door to open. Now, that doesn’t even open it anymore.

I don’t care about burning music or whatever, I just want to back up my files so that I can reformat my hard drive. My computer is so slow because of all the crap that I download. I’ve deleted more than half of what I’ve downloaded only because I knew I wouldn’t be able to back it up but that doesn’t help me if I can’t burn the rest of the stuff onto discs.

My DVD burner that is in there now was $50 at TigerDirect.com back in 2007 and I checked the computer store in town and they sell the same one for $46 and I went to TigerDirect.com again and they sell the same one for $19.99 now. I thought, I’d much rather spend $25 (with shipping) and wait until the end of the week for it rather than spend double and get it today.

So hopefully by the weekend my computer won’t be so slow. I can finally burn the crap I’ve been downloading as well as all of my documents and images and start fresh with a new Windows installation.

About friggin time!

Ultimatums Suck

Has anyone ever given you an ultimatum or have you given anyone an ultimatum? They are not fair. There are certain times when it is ok to give someone an ultimatum like when a husband is drinking, gambling, cheating etc. But family members should never give you an ultimatum to choose your lover over them.

When I was 17 years old, my mother gave me an ultimatum. Leave my boyfriend Robert out in the cold in a strange city without anywhere to sleep and without any transportation back home or choose her and continue living at home. The choice was obvious. I would rather be homeless myself than let a deaf person wait outside for me to never return to help him find a place to sleep for the night. He was DEAF!

How cold-hearted are you to allow any human being to be homeless for the night until they can catch the bus in the morning back home?  I told her to at least let me call his mom to pick him up and she said no, let him freeze.  What a cold-hearted bitch!  I hate saying that about my own mother, rest her soul, but that’s how I feel.

It was 1987 and he couldn’t call his mother on a cell phone and speak sign language with a video call like you can do today. He had to use a TTY which by the way was at his house in Simi Valley. He took the bus to see me after 2 years of not seeing me and waited until the last-minute after the last bus had left for the day so he was stranded without any way of getting home. I asked a co-worker who lived down the street from me if he could stay with her on her couch and she said yes, I just had to bring him there. He was out of cigarettes so I went back to my house to get him a pack and that’s when my mother cornered me and gave me the ultimatum and that’s the night I became homeless.

My cousin just called me and he went to visit his sister in another state with his wife. His wife is 15 years older than he is and because some people don’t approve of such age differences, she was treated like crap. His sister gave him an ultimatum. His wife or his sister. That’s not fair. You know? You can’t make someone make that decision especially when they are married. What if he did choose his sister? What then? Is she going to take him in? No, she’s not. So now that he has chosen you, he’s going to be homeless all because you made him choose you over the love of his life.

Why do that? Why not just suck it up? You don’t even live in the same state, just deal with it. She is the person he chose to be with so live with it. It’s not your decision, it’s his.

I am in a relationship with someone who is 21 years older than me. You know what my sister said to him when she first met him? “How old are you?” And she didn’t ask it nicely either, she had this disapproving tone in her voice. It’s like, who asked you for your opinion? It’s none of your business. This is who I chose to be with so deal with it.

I think if someone is coward enough to make this type of ultimatum then they deserve it when they are the one being rejected. If someone gave me an ultimatum I am going to choose the person they are making me leave for them. There is no doubt in my mind that I would tell them to go to hell just as I told my mom.

Black Widow

blackwidowLast night I let the dog out and I glanced over at this fountain that is leaning against the wall, we’re lazy what can I say, and noticed this huge freakin’ black widow.  I’ve noticed the web before that “it” made, I’ve tried hosing it away but it’s so freakin’ strong and I’ve broken it up with my shoe many times and it just keeps coming back.

So last night when I let the dog out and I saw the spider I went back in the house to grab a shoe cause I was bare foot and when I came back it was still on it’s strong mofo web.  I smashed it with my flip flop but it wasn’t easy getting through that strong ass web.  It was so strong I could hear it making a crinkle sound and I could feel how strong it was too.  It was like this spider was eating her spinach or something like Popeye that it’s web was strong to the finish lol.

So after I smashed it there was all this brown crap all over my shoe, yes, brown.  I think that Black Widow spiders are from another planet.  Well, I guess if the guts were green then maybe so who knows. LOL

It’s scary how many black widow spiders are lurking around our house.  I’m always killing them either in the green can that we put our grass and leaves in or in the back yard or in the garage or our indoor patio.  Luckily I haven’t seen any inside the house, at least they respect me enough that they stay outside lol as if they respect anyone.

Oh so after I killed the spider, the web was still on my shoe and this web is so strong, I wouldn’t say it was difficult but I could feel how stuck it was.  But the web wasn’t made like a regular spiders web, it was just strings here and there with no real pattern.  Kinda strange.

Here is the Wiki on the Black Widow also known as Latrodectus hesperus.  This even mentions how strong the webs are.

Solution To My Back Problems

I’ve been thinking that maybe the solution to my bike seat problem might be easier.  When I was 17 I had a beach cruiser bicycle.  The seat was fat in the back and the horn was very small.  It’s handlebars were long enough that I could sit up while riding so I never had any back issues.

My bike is a mountain bike.  I only bought a “mountain bike” because of the price.  I bought it at Wal•mart for $60.  I really wanted a beach cruiser but they were too expensive at the time and same with the 10 speed road bikes.  The mountain bike was my only cheap alternative.

I’ve already changed out most of the bike and it’s mainly just the frame that is the same so why not just take the handlebar off and put a new one on lol.  When I get my next check I plan on buying one of these:

beachcruiserbar

It’s long enough that I won’t have to bend even a little bit to reach and I can sit up fully while riding.  As long as my seat is in the right position I won’t feel like I’m falling forward as long as I have some longer handlebars.

This handlebar is $10 plus $5 shipping from NYCBikes.com which is not bad at all.  However, I’m not sure if I want to wait for it to ship to me.  I mean, we have a bike store in town (they don’t have a website :() so I’m going to check with them first.  Hopefully they will have a black one so I don’t have to spray paint it lol.

I will probably have to wait another week or so before I can ride my bike again so by the time I get this I will be healed up again hopefully and I can resume my 4:30am bike rides.  I can also add more crap to my seat lol.

Oh the only issue I can see with this is that the brakes won’t be long enough to reach to the end of the handlebars but that’s ok, I’m sure that when I need them I will be able to reach for them.  Or maybe they will be long enough to get close to the end of the handlebars.

But you know what?  Maybe I’m going at this all wrong.  Beach Cruiser bikes are probably not that expensive at Wal-Mart.  The last time we were there they were $60 so maybe I should just get a new bike.  Beach Cruiser bikes don’t have hand brakes.  All you do is peddle backwards and you stop lol.  They don’t even have gears which might make it a bit easier.  I’ll think about it.