Q&A Wednesday: Loose Skin, Supplements and Jenny Craig? | A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss

Q&A Wednesday: Loose Skin, Supplements and Jenny Craig?

water-with-lime

Questions this week about fat burners, jenny craig, loose skin and getting in that water!

With advertising that says women who drink Crystal Light drink 40% more water, what’s your take on it? I only usually have one of those little packets a day in a 16oz of water, but I know they talk about the aspartame in them being bad… so what say you?

I hate to do this.. but I’m not big on the Crystal Light fare. I like bare basics. I like things where, if I could no longer afford to purchase [insert product], I wouldn’t feel as if I couldn’t enjoy it anymore. So if I went completely flat broke (like I’m about to do with grad school) and couldn’t afford Crystal Light anymore, would I no longer drink water? Call it paranoia, whatever.

I also don’t like artificial sweeteners. At all. I’ll stick to organic cane sugar or basic table sugar for cooking, and rarely do I actually need either (I may bake occasionally, but that’s about it.)

I wrote about this in another post, but if you need something to sweeten your water, try actual fruits and veggies. Freeze grapes, blueberries, orange slices, strawberries, whatever and use them as ice cubes. Squeeze them in little containers and use the juice to give a little flavor to your water. I just… feel like artificial sweeteners present an unnecessary risk that can easily be avoided, and you’d do better to try natural means, anyhow.

I do believe that number about the amount of “water” women drink increasing… some locations simply have awkward/poor tasting tap water supply and can’t stomach it, so the flavor helps. This just offers a different/better way to get that flavoring. :)

As your body transitioned how did you make sure your skin stayed tight without being flabby or sagging?

I’m going to do an update about myself and my progress next week but drinking water, weight lifting, keeping activities like yoga and running on deck and staying moisturized has been a huge help. If I’m not mistaken, the skin serves the purpose of protecting our vital organs from the outside. It can’t do that if it’s saggy and limp and not clinging to the very organs it’s supposed to protect, so once there is nothing left to cling to (meaning, once all the fat is gone) the skin will do it’s proper job in clinging to the new body.

Here’s my story.  I am currently a little over 200 pounds.  I’m a grad student, working on a phd in math so my stress levels are usually through the roof and my lifestyle is mostly sedentary.  I love to cook and would do so more often if I only had TIME…  Anyway, I don’t think I eat particularly unhealthy, what gets me in trouble are portion sizes and eating at all hours of the day and night.  I’ve been wanting to shed at least 40 pounds for a while now, but weight loss has been like trying to get in the jump ropes: a lot of watching, a lot of false starts, a lot of getting tripped up.

I was interested in your thoughts on programs like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers.  I am drawn to try for their strict discipline but I have my reservations, like the supplied food being processed, and the reliance on external sources to get started.  What’s your take on these programs?  Ever use them or know someone who did/does?

Firstly, here’s to making it through grad school (at least this far) alive! That’s major!

Secondly, skip the programs. They ARE portion control. I know what it’s like to have broke-college-student status. Even if you’re not broke-college-livin’, it’s still a recession, LOL. With your own planning and preparation and figuring out how to create your own system, you can make it work. Again, affordability – if you couldn’t afford to do it forever, doing it NOW just to “get there” isn’t ideal for everyone. What happens when it’s gone? You know? To me, the risk is too high.

There’s nothing wrong with eating “at all hours of the night.” There’s LOTS wrong with eating back-to-back-to-back at all hours of the day AND night, though. To me, that’s a sign that you’re not eating the right things after all. My days usually run from 4AM to midnight… please believe I eat at 7, 10, 12, 3, 6, and  9. I’m not eating full course meals.. I’m just making sure that I have the energy in my system to keep going without falling asleep.

As a side note… because I apparently don’t blog enough and still really wanna talk about it.. I think this op-ed is kind of pertinent to the question of anyone’s need for Jenny Craig or similar programs. A culture that has enough rules about eating doesn’t “need” a program that imposes more rules. The “a culture that has enough rules about eating” part is of great interest to me, though. Create your own eating rules one by one, and stick to ‘em.

If I were in your shoes, I’d probably focus on drinking much more water, eating less but eating more often and trying to eat less of foods in packages and boxes. Do that and barring any other outstanding medical issues, I’m almost positive you’ll see results.

What are your thoughts on supplements like vitamins and fat burners?

My thoughts when it comes to fat burners? If you feel like throwing your money away, you can always donate it to the site. :)

Vitamins, though… meh. In In Defense Of Food, the author discusses supplements and basically says you should be the kind of person who takes vitamins… because these people are usually well educated, very health-conscious, picky eaters and are (unfortunately) more likely to spend a little more on “better” foods. Meaning, they’re probably already getting all the vitamins they need from their daily diet… not the vitamins. So… if you take vitamins, cool… but strive to be that person who doesn’t need them. :)

Keep the questions coming!

The proud leader of the #bgg2wlarmy, Erika Nicole Kendall writes health, fitness, nutrition, body image and beauty, and more here at #bgg2wl. After losing over 150lbs, Kendall became a personal trainer certified in fitness nutrition, women's fitness, and weight loss from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She now lives in New York with her family, and is working on her 4th, 5th and 6th certificates.

12 Comments

  1. Benee

    May 5, 2010 at 8:32 PM

    I enjoy reading your Q&As. I think you’re doing a great thing here with this blog.

    I agree with you about Crystal Light and such. It’s best to go bare bones especially at the costs of some of these products. And I’m not totally convinced that artificial flavoring doesnt cause some rabbid form of butt cancer.

    I think different tactices work for different people, depending on how they process things and their personal ethics. Some people need to structure and guidance of programs. Some people need to be motivated by the fact that they are spending money on something (that’s my gym motivation lol). Some people focus better when they dont have to think too hard about things and/or feel like they have the support of others (which for many on WL journies is hard to find). I don’t knock WL programs like Jenny Criag or Weight Watchers and such because for many, they DO work, and at the end of the day, the weight is lost, new patterns of eating are learned, and people are healthier. For those who fail at the programs, they simply have to find other methods.

    You said your day is from 4am to midnight. Everything I’ve researched says sleep an essential part of weight loss. Why so little sleep? It’s recommended that people actively losing weight get ample sleep at night or they can stunt their efforts. What’s going on sis?

    Re: the sagging skin. I only question your POV because skin does not always snap back. If you’re someone losing a lot of weight in a short period of time, the sagging is inevitable. That is seen mostly in bariatric surgery patients. And if you’ve been carrying the weight for 20, 30, even 40 years, its almost impossible because the elasticity isnt the same and the skin has been stretched for so long. This is why insurance companies are now approving plastic surgery for people who have lost major amounts of weight because they recognize the side effects of the sagging skin (rashes, sores, etc). I have sagging skin and no amount of moisturizing, exercising, etc has tightened it up :( I see surgery in my future.

    • Erika

      May 5, 2010 at 8:43 PM

      Heyyy…. sleep is important – I do get my naps in during the day to accommodate my extra 3 hours. :)

      As far as the skin is concerned, you’ll notice that the person asked what I did for my skin – that’s not a “point of view” issue so much as it is a difference of experience issue. Skin is far more complicated with far too many variables involved to simply take my experience, sub me out and add someone else in, you know? However, as someone who has been there and has done that, those are the things I’ve done to take care of it. That’s all. :)

    • ShanaJaye

      July 31, 2012 at 10:09 AM

      Great response Benee!

  2. Cat

    May 9, 2010 at 2:23 PM

    Try cucumber slices in filtered water…..much better than plain!

  3. Lisa

    September 22, 2010 at 4:53 PM

    Hi,
    I’m curious as to what your take is re: natural sweetners such Agave and Stevia. I love Agave, and use it in moderation. Would like to try experimenting using it in desserts, as I try not to use sugar at all, unless its unprocessed/raw. Agave is sweeter than sugar, but it doesn’t have the same impact on blood sugar levels as regular sugar, honey or most other sweetners.
    Just would like your input.
    Thanks,

  4. ChellBellz

    September 23, 2010 at 9:23 AM

    I also heard something about a chemical in Crystal light that was shown to cause people to have siezures…have no idea where the article is, or which chemical, but I also have a love hate relationship with Crystal Light. My new rule is if i can’t pronounce half the chemicals in it then I’m not buying it.

  5. Victoria

    April 29, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    My mom used to drink crystal light like crazy because the tap water had a taste she didn’t like. Her doctor made her stop asap. He said there was a chemical in most of those drink mixes that is really bad for you. He was talking about something else besides the artificial sweetener. I’ll have to ask my mom which ingredient he was warning her about.

  6. Yolee

    March 23, 2013 at 8:08 AM

    Great article! Thank you for this fabulous site. I stopped using artificial sweeteners this year. I drink more water by simply adding a bit of lemon juice and Stivia/agave (one tsp) in my water. Sometimes I just use lemon juice. Works for me.

  7. cee cee

    March 25, 2013 at 5:45 AM

    I have enjoyed reading your blog Erika. I do have a question. I have been trying to lose weight for 3 months now. I’ve only lost about 14 pounds and my goal is 60 pounds. so 14 isn’t even a dent. I work overnight 12 to 8 do you or anyone have any suggestions on how I can go about losing some more weight even through I know i may not be getting enough sleep. I came across your blog because of the body magic… lol… like others i was looking for a quick fix. I will keep it mind its a garment made for special occasions not to reshape my body or lose weight but your blog has been insightful…..

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      March 25, 2013 at 10:56 AM

      There’s no other part of the day where you can steal a quick nap? Like, I understand that third-shifters have weird schedules… but you guys aren’t making up that sleep you’re missing? I’d be surprised if there wasn’t much more going haywire than just an inability to lose weight.

  8. Tracy

    September 4, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    I have tried the Weight Watchers program ( I can not speak on Jenny Craig). Personally, I did not find it helpful or worth the money. The Weight Watchers program essentially will tell you to eat more fruit and veggies. Walk 30 minutes a day. Drink water. You may have to attend group meetings (unless you pay for the online program – there are a bunch of free apps that do exactly the same thing as the online program) to discuss your journey and get recipe ideas. You will have to weigh-in during those group sessions, as well. If you are just starting your journey and are extremely self-conscious about not losing weight as quickly as another WW member, the process can be frustrating.

    You can really do this for free by doing some research on your own, seeking the advice of others that have lost weigh (in a healthy manner) and enlisting friends and family that are supportive of your journey.

    There is no magic pill, no program, or surgery that can replace old-fashion hard work and commitment to your goal. Besides, when you join these programs you are paying lots of money and may require you to buy other items. It can get expensive.

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