Things Discovered: 34° Crisps


I love cheese and crackers and one of the major things that I’ve missed over the last (almost) two years is – you guessed it… cheese and crackers. Not that cheese is bad for you, most of the time it’s not, but it is calorie dense and so if you eat too much of it, you’ve blown a whole day’s worth of calories before you know it. Crackers are the same, though of course some are better than others – but it’s the carbs and salt that get you here and the fact that you can pop crackers into your mouth one after the other and before you know it, you’ve eaten the whole pack. So, what to do (until now), but avoid – if you want to keep on track?

So, the other day I was at my local Harris Teeter and came across 34° Crisps. It’s all the taste and crunch of a crack, but WAY less calories. Seriously… only 50 calories for 9 crackers!! I’m rather fond of the Rosemary ones, but as you can see they come in a variety of flavors, so there’s bound to be one you’ll like.

I do suggest pairing it with something – cheese, or some sort of dip, etc… (my go-to is low fat mozzarella cheese) because they are very dry on their own, but other than that it’s a great way to satisfy your cracker cravings without breaking the calorie bank.

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Things Discovered: Chilly Cow


My love for Halo Top is well known, and anyone who follows me on MFP knows I eat that stuff, if not everyday, pretty darn close too it. But I’ve been a bit frustrated with the lack of lower calorie options–I like to stick to under 300 calories per pint. I know it’s hard, because you definitely want it to taste good, but still… my choices are pretty limited at this point. Generally speaking I almost always eat the Caramel Macchiato, and when I really need a change, Birthday Cake. I like the Oatmeal Cookie flavor, but not the actual oatmeal chunks, so I don’t eat it much at all. I did try the Lemon Cake one, and it’s good, but it’s hard to find in my area.

Which brings me to Chilly Cow. Technically, it has more calories in it, BUT since it’s sold in packs that have two 1/2 pint tubs instead of a whole pint, I have the option to eat more flavors, but still have it be less of an impact on my daily calorie goals. I know, I could just eat half a Halo Top, but honestly, I don’t have that kind of self-control. It’s why buying Oreos is always a bad idea, I can never eat just a couple.

So far, I’ve only eaten the Sweat Cream Peanut Butter one, but it was really good (and it was only 190 calories). I need to see if I can find some of the other flavors in my area, because they also have a Brown Butter Salted Caramel which sounds freaking amazing (that and the Chocolate Brownie Batter).

In any case, it’s definitely nice to have something else to add to my ice cream arsenal that is diet friendly and tastes super yummy!

Things Discovered: Noom


Last week, in a desperate bid to gain some control over my out of control eating habits, I decided to try the Noom app. I’d gotten some sort of email for a 14 day free trial and a massive discount off a yearly subscription, so I figured why not?

TL;DR: This app could be useful for those who really need a lot of hand-holding and benefit from daily tips and tricks and other psychological motivation. However, for those who already have a good grasp on the basics, it’s kind of annoying and useless, especially if you are already using something like MyFitnessPal.

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One of the benefits of Noom is it offers a personal coach. The problem that I had with this (and in looking around, I see I’m not the only one), I honestly couldn’t tell if my coach was a real person or simply a bot. To be fair, I didn’t interact much, and she didn’t contact me all that much in the week or so that I tried the app, but when she did it was very scripted.

One of the other benefits is that you are supposed to get group support as well. The coach is, after your trial, supposed to be a weekly check-in, but your group is supposed to be your all-the-time support. Too bad they don’t give you access to it during your trial, so there is no way to tell, beforehand, how it works in practice (or if it too, resembles bot support). This right here was the number 1 reason why I ended my trial, by the way. If you want me to check out something, you have to actually give me access, otherwise… bye-bye! I might have stayed if I’d gotten a good group, but I wasn’t willing to pay for the app only to find out my group sucked (there are no refunds once you’ve paid).

The app also offers food logging, which is something that I think everyone who is trying to lose weight should do. The problem with Noom, however, is that their food database is pretty abysmal. I was constantly having to add things, which was a pain in the ass. Honestly, it would work in their favor if they could just find a way to sync the app with MFP, since MFP already has a much larger food database and makes it much easier to log foods (and create recipes and meals, etc…)

Ultimately, I had an issue with the price as well. First, it’s not clear on their website exactly what the price is. I mean, there are prices listed if you dig through the FAQ, but those are completely different from what I was given and, after I quit my trial, I was given another offer with a way different and much lower price as well. Which leads me to think that there are many different people paying vastly different prices for the same app, some of whom are being seriously taken advantage of. The price I was given wasn’t horrible, but I’m not sure the app was worth that price either, especially since a lot of the features weren’t really all that useful to me. It certainly wasn’t worth paying simply for access to the group support, since there are plenty of places one can go online for free to talk with others who are on their own weight loss journey.

It also tracks steps (which I had synced to my Misfit tracker), though I think you could also use your phone as a tracker as well. I didn’t try that, so I don’t know how that works exactly.

Along with all that you also get daily healthy lifestyle/dieting tips, and other motivational info, that can definitely be of use to many people. This was one of the good things about the app, but also one of the things that I didn’t really need, because a lot of it was stuff that I was already aware of , so again, not worth paying to get access to it. So, similar to my Hungryroot experience, it’s not that Noom doesn’t have potential usefulness, it just wasn’t something that worked out for me. But if you are curious, it may still be worth trying if you think it will help you on your journey.

If you want, you can also check out the 14-day plan that they sent me, to give you a better idea of what you’ll get, since the website is not very forthcoming with the info.

Things Discovered: Lean Bar


I signed up for the GNC Pro rewards program last year, which is a paid version of their regular rewards program that gives you a few extra perks, including a box of samples 3 times a year. Honestly, I’m probably not going to renew the subscription when it comes due in a couple months, as most of it ended up not being useful to me personally. I originally thought I’d be needing it more when I was going to have the bariatric surgery, but with that off the table, I don’t shop there that often (other than like every couple for some stuff that the kiddo needs), which generally doesn’t make paying for a couple extra coupons all that worth it. The sample boxes were interesting, but again, the first two only had a couple things that were even remotely relevant to me – like that yummy protein cookie I mentioned a while back (even though I filled out the profile thingy which was supposed to help customize it better), so not really worth it.

leanbar

Credit: GNC

 

The last box though, did actually have some good stuff in it, and I thought I’d share about one of them – the Blueberry Yogurt Lean Bar. It has 180 calories, 15g protein, and 10g fiber, along with other assorted vitamins/minerals (22 carbs, but with all that fiber it’s not so bad). Usually, I’m not a big fan of anything “blueberry” flavored, but this was actually pretty tasty, so thought it was worth mentioning. I’ll definitely have to check out some of their other flavors to see if they are as good. Would make a great after workout snack or even a quick breakfast for those of us that don’t like to eat a lot in the morning.

Cheat Days: Arby’s Cookie Butter Shake


Because there are just some days that you have to give in and go for what you are craving. And holy cow… this is pretty freaking yummy!!! Soooo totally worth the extra work I’ll have to do to compensate for going over calories today. And to be fair, I’ve been resisting this beautiful concoction for several weeks, so I think I did good to hold out as long as I did.

According to the Arby’s website it’s: Indulgently sweet with cinnamon spice. Topped with whipped cream and cookie pieces. I got the hint of cinnamon, but the rest of the flavors are hard to describe – if only because I’m too busy sucking it down to form a coherent thought. Totally delicious!!

I would add it to a “Things Discovered” post, but it’s very much not a diet food. Either way though, if you can squeeze the calories in (or are ready for a well deserved cheat day), it’s definitely worth getting one before they’re gone.

Things Discovered: Simple Mills (revisited)


So… I found out the other day that Simple Mills has prepackaged cookies as well. Now typically, I’m not a fan of store-bought cookies. I like my cookies firm and crunchy and it’s hard to find that outside of ones that you bake yourself, plus, prepackaged taste is usually kind of meh. But aahhh… the gods are smiling, because these cookies are crunchy and pretty much taste exactly the same as the ones I made from the mix version. I am so impressed.

The downside, is that they appear to be fairly expensive (Amazon has them listed for like $6+ per box), though I honestly don’t remember it being that much at the store where I found them. However, I fully admit I didn’t pay much attention, so I’ll have to check again next time I’m in.

The other great thing is that a serving size is 3 cookies and only 110 calories. And though they aren’t all that big, the Double Chocolate ones that I had tasted so good, that even just eating one or two was enough to satisfy a craving. In a former life I probably would have eaten an entire box (or at least more than one serving), but I was good and didn’t. But really, they are that yummy!!