weight loss

Are You a Foodie?

By Linda Mauel

Do you love food? New York has some of the best in the world. I’m a foodie! I admit it! I love the look, taste, smell and textures of it all. And we are entering the time of year that this foodie both loves and hates, looks forward to and dreads – all at the same time. You see, I am, to put it kindly, overweight. So, instead of waiting until the new year and my New Year’s resolution, which has been long ago titled “here we go again,”, I decided to get ahead of it all this year. I joined a weight reduction program the beginning of November. (Yes, I had to get Halloween out of the way first.)

ThanksgivingFoodSo, I am sitting at the hair dresser’s after joining the program and am trying to figure out how to make it work this time. Don’t get me wrong, I have been very successful many other times…until I wasn’t. Looking in the mirror, I decided that I am just too old to stay on this roller coaster and it is time to, borrowing a popular phrase, just do it. Having time on my hands while in the chair, I decided it was high time to figure out what contributed to my past successes and then what changed, resulting in long term failure.

Let’s see. Each time I began by setting some goals (lose weight, get fit, learn to like the new life style), objectives (follow the program, lose X pounds, do Y minutes of activity) and criteria (measure change in pounds per week, change in inches per month, changes in bloodwork per six months), then I learned how to proceed (attend meetings, read material, plan meals and set activities), how and what to measure (what I ate, how it counted towards my daily allotment, minutes activity conducted) and how to keep track of it all (record what I measured).

QA2With all my years in Quality Assurance, I should have known. I had prepared and followed a Quality Assurance Project Plan (aka a QAPP)! And I was doing really good! Then I became cocky and slowly stopped planning, measuring, learning, and tracking. I “remembered” or guesstimated, decided I did not need to go to the meetings or follow the criteria I originally set. Or in other words, I stopped following the QAPP! That’s when it fell apart!

Quality Assurance (QA) and its tools, such as the QAPP, is to many people what this time of year is for this foodie – it is loved and hated, looked forward to and dreaded. Preparing and using a QAPP takes a little extra time but, as shown above, sticking with it will help you to succeed by encouraging you to do what you say you’ll do.  And as discussed above, if it moves (like me) – train it, if it doesn’t move (like my food scale) – calibrate it, and no matter what (like my food and activity choices) – document it. And I can vouch firsthand that if you (and I) stick with the QAPP, your next project, like my weight loss adventure, will be a success!

Have a successful World Quality Month, Happy Holiday Season, and Healthy New Year!

 

About the Author: Linda Mauel serves as the region’s Science Integrity & Quality Assurance Manager. She works in the Division of Environmental Science and Assessment out of EPA’s Edison Environmental Center. Linda holds a BS in Chemical Engineering and a BA in Chemistry from Rutgers University. She worked in the private sector for 11 years then began her 25+ year career with EPA, 23+ in the quality assurance program.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Portion Control for a Greener World

By Lina Younes

As someone who has struggled with weight loss issues for most of my adult life, I am well aware of the importance of managing food portions. Even when I try to make myself believe that I am controlling the amount of food I’m eating by limiting my portion sizes, I’ve noticed that the scale never lies. When my servings become more generous, the weight on the scale inches up in the same proportion. So, have you thought about how managing food portions can lead to a healthier lifestyle AND to a healthier planet?

Let me explain.

Did you know that when we increase our food portions at home, at schools, and restaurants, in fact we are wasting a lot of food? In 2011, Americans threw away more than 36 million tons of food in 2011. Nintey-six percent of that wasted food ended up in landfills or incinerators around country. So what can we do to waste less food?

  • How about serving smaller portions or eating on smaller plates. Also, when you pause to think before you eat, you might realize you’re full and not go for the second serving.
  • Before you throw away fresh fruits and vegetables that you have in the refrigerator, why don’t you try new recipes? Have you thought of freezing fruits for use in making smoothies at a later date? You can also wash and freeze vegetables to use in stews for a future meal.
  • How about cutting up stale bread to make your own home-made croutons?
  • Have you thought about composting food scraps like potato peels, fruit waste, coffee grounds, egg shells, and old spices?

Earlier this summer, EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture launched a collaborative effort called the US Food Waste Challenge  to raise awareness of the environmental and health issues created by food waste. Learn more about the program and see how you can become involved.

By taking simple steps to reduce food waste, you will save money from buying less food, conserve energy and natural resources, and, especially, lower your carbon footprint by reducing methane emissions that are produced in landfills during the decomposition of food waste. It seems like a green win-win for all involved.

About the author:  Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Communications Liaison for EPA. She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.