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Old 01-06-2010, 09:15 PM   #61  
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Observation 3 - Calorie Counting...

is really hard when you eat out 3 meals a day. I mean do I go only with stuff from national chains (gag me after the 10,000th time) where I can look up calories? Do I approximate/overestimate from similar foods? Just try to pick something in the top 10% healthiest things on the menu and not worry about it.

I don't know...
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Old 01-07-2010, 11:18 PM   #62  
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We eat out a lot, too, some for work, some for fun, and I tend to look at the restaurant's menu online (when they have one) first and then try to approximate from that what I think I'll pick when I get there. One trick that I use is to include a glass of champagne or a couple glasses of wine in my calorie estimate for my meals out, and then if when I get to the resto I have a little leeway in case something more caloric than planned is calling to me. In terms of accuracy, I do the best I can -- all calorie counts are estimates and approximations anyway, and if I feel like something I've eaten _feels_ like it has more calories that I estimated, then I round up a little bit.

Don't know whether that helps any, but I know how difficult it can be to feel like you're on plan when you're eating in fine dining restos and don't always have total control over how/what you order (eg, the chef sends out a treat, your colleague buys another round...).
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Old 01-08-2010, 07:14 AM   #63  
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You're still not very practiced with weighing and measuring, but as time goes on you'll get better. Then you can look at that food on your plate at a restaurant and decide how much to eat and how much to package for later--or just leave on the plate. But it takes practice.

If you've ordered a 12-ounce steak, then that's pretty easy unless there's a bone in it. Only eat half of the steak. If they pile garlic mashed potatoes on the plate, only eat one-third to one-half the potatoes. Even broccoli can be tricky because a restaurant often puts sauce with oil on their veggies--when tracking their calories, some people just add in a tablespoon of oil for every restaurant meal.

Yes, you can choose the best items. Many restaurants have a salmon choice, or shrimp, or grilled chicken. Often these are big servings, so again, don't plan to eat the whole thing (although with shrimp or salmon, it's OK to eat all of that). Some people ask for a take-out box right away, and box up what they aren't going to eat as soon as the plate comes. That way they don't keep nibbling.

Obviously, you don't eat desserts at such places. Certainly not if you're eating out that much.

Sometimes the hardest part is when you have to just leave the food. If you were raised to be a "plate cleaner" and never "waste" food, it seems like almost a sin. But it isn't. Better to "waste" it than to "waist" it!

Hang in there!

Jay

Last edited by JayEll; 01-08-2010 at 07:16 AM.
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Old 01-08-2010, 11:44 AM   #64  
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Thu Jan 8th and back home

So made it back home very late last night after another 2.5 day trip. Yesterday was hard as I knew the gym wasn't an option. Had meetings starting at 7:15am (6:15 to my body) and straight to airport after work, not getting home until almost midnight. But I think I did a good job counterbalancing with nutrition, I did another healthy hotel breakfast (that's 4/4 since on plan!).

Across from my client was this amazing salad place called Just Salad, where they build you a very fresh good salad with whatever you want, zillions of toppings and dressings. The best part is that they will chop the whole thing up, for some reason I really prefer a chopped salad to a tossed salad.

So I actually at an earlyish lunch there and got another one on my way to the airport. Stayed away from bad ingredients but had some great low fat dressings including this horseradish chive low fat dressing.

After getting on there site, it looks like both the very different salads I had were in the 550-700 cal range each, they were huge and very filling and super good.

Observations from second business trip on plan.

I had another really good trip, very pleased with staying on plan. The most encouraging thing was I didn't have to think quite as much about everything as I did on my first business trip, it came a little more natural.

I still think I am going to really really struggle with official gym workouts on the road. Early morning is just really bad for me (see earlier post) and I don't have the energy to hit it super hard after work. I have to figure out something that is workable here. I might experiment with trying to go bed several hours earlier than I usually do to get up early enough to eat breakfast and then go work out. That sounds miserable in my head though.

The food thing is going pretty well on the road though. Although it is a lot harder to count calories at restaurants, doing the whole counting thing helps me think more along the lines of how much I need to eat instead of how much I can't eat if that makes sense.

Mini Successes
The new belt I bought (see this post) before my last trip clearly fit on the second notch (almost 3rd) whereas when I bought it was tight on the largest notch. My largest dress pants (which was all I could fit into) are right on the verge of being too large to actually wear.

Also I could definitely tell that I was smaller in the airplane seat this time. It was a great feeling. With as much time as I spend in airline seats it is funny because unlike clothes you can't switch to a larger size
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Old 01-08-2010, 02:07 PM   #65  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayEll View Post
You're still not very practiced with weighing and measuring, but as time goes on you'll get better. Then you can look at that food on your plate at a restaurant and decide how much to eat and how much to package for later--or just leave on the plate. But it takes practice.

If you've ordered a 12-ounce steak, then that's pretty easy unless there's a bone in it. Only eat half of the steak. If they pile garlic mashed potatoes on the plate, only eat one-third to one-half the potatoes. Even broccoli can be tricky because a restaurant often puts sauce with oil on their veggies--when tracking their calories, some people just add in a tablespoon of oil for every restaurant meal.

Yes, you can choose the best items. Many restaurants have a salmon choice, or shrimp, or grilled chicken. Often these are big servings, so again, don't plan to eat the whole thing (although with shrimp or salmon, it's OK to eat all of that). Some people ask for a take-out box right away, and box up what they aren't going to eat as soon as the plate comes. That way they don't keep nibbling.

Obviously, you don't eat desserts at such places. Certainly not if you're eating out that much.

Sometimes the hardest part is when you have to just leave the food. If you were raised to be a "plate cleaner" and never "waste" food, it seems like almost a sin. But it isn't. Better to "waste" it than to "waist" it!

Hang in there!

Jay
Those are some really good points. I had a whole post on this topic, but I am far better (right now) at choosing a healthy option or portioning before it gets to my plate than I am not eating what ends up in front of me.

Right now if it makes it to my plate it is as good as gone. This is something I need to get a lot better at on the road. The nice thing about developing this "skill" is that it will allow me to not always have to choose the healthiest thing on the menu if I can eat a correct portion (and not the typical restaurant 2x-3x portion).
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:46 PM   #66  
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Portion Control

I had portion control (a huge weakness of mine) at both lunch and dinner today!

My wife had made spaghetti last night and there was a lot leftover so I felt obligated to eat some of it. I got a very small portion it wasn't the end of the world.

For dinner we had this choir thing and here were my 5 food choices...cheese enchiladas, beef enchiladas, mexican rice, refried beans, and chips

I got one enchilada, a bit of rice, a few chips and lots of salsa and it still wasn't the end of the world.

I'm not sure I'm ready to conquer eating half of what is on my plate yet, but this was a step in the right direction.
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Old 01-09-2010, 03:22 PM   #67  
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Today was the reward

This morning I went to a birthday party for my daughter's 2 y/o friend. It was at a warehouse where they have all of these giant inflatables.

1 month ago, I would have likely remained on the ground, sitting down, watching. Maybe I would have gone up the giant slide once if my daughter begged, but by the time I got up and back down, been tired, out of breath and sweaty.

Instead today I played and rolled around with the kids the whole time, up and down many times and really didn't even feel it. I didn't sweat (which is amazing, because that's been a big problem over the last 4-6 months), and didn't even really feel worn out at all by the end.

It allowed me to have fun with my baby and her friends and increased the quality of time I spent with her.

Losing a pound is great, but that feeling was far better!
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Old 01-09-2010, 04:06 PM   #68  
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Month 1 Recap/Evaluation

It seemed appropriate since it's been a little over a month since I started the "plan" that's not really a plan, to go back and evaluate my original post and post some evaluations/thoughts.

Overall Official Weight Lost - 23 lbs

I guess one of the things that has been most positive about the last month was that I managed to get a great start despite the holidays. I was helped by a lighter than usual work schedule and not a lot of horrible travel.

So let me go back to the "Action Plan" I posted and see how I've done...


Exercise


1. Gym M-F and most Saturdays
B+: Seems pretty fair here. I have definitely missed a few gym days here and there, but I don't think I've had a day where I didn't go to the gym out of laziness. The only day's I've missed have been days it was closed due to holidays, or a couple of travel work days where I didn't really have an opportunity.

2. Don't overthink weights
A+: I'm not weight training in the most ideal manner, but I'm making pretty significant progress. I'm doing about 30% more weight than I was doing a month ago and can already see some difference. More importantly I'm avoiding soreness to the point of not wanting to return the next day which is a huge motivational difference.

3. Vary cardio method/intensity
A+: I've been nailing this one and I think it's making a big difference. I do something different almost every day (and even vary length/intensity/combinations of these, including elliptical, treadmill, intervals, treadclimber, stairs, basketball drills, soccer drills, walking, wii active....

4. While traveling, gym before eating
B-: I've not done well with this, but not totally failed either. I've had two trips, both of which only had one full day on-site that wasn't a partial travel day. Both of those days I really didn't feel like working out in the gym, so opted for really long (1+ hrs) walks around the cities I was in. I think this is pretty reasonable, but not as intense as a gym workout.

5. Do mini-workouts throughout the day
B: I'm doing ok on this, and adding several additional "non official exercising" to my day, but not doing it as often as I hoped. Sweating is still aproblem and I don't really like to do something with the intensity that gets me to that point too often. But I can and should do a little better here, especially something right after waking up to get the blood flowing.

6. Incorporate physical activity into toddler time
A+: This has been going really well to the benefit of my daughter, myself, and my family overall. We do a lot more together, I don't hesitate to chase her laps around the house, always do "kiddo squats" or "kiddo kettlebells" several times and day and in general look at physical interactions with her as an opportunity for health/fun instead of a burden.



Food


1. Total calories 1800-2000
A-: I've been doing really good overall in this area. Counting on TheDailyPlate has been huge for this and really opened my eyes to some things. I've only really had 2 days where I've gone much above 2k, and that was Christmas and NYE. This would be an A+ but I've dipped below 1500 calories more often than I probably should.

2. Portion Control
B: I'll give myself an A for portion control before it gets onto my plate (better than I would have expected actually) and a C for portion control if it's already on my plate, which is still a struggle.

3. Use TheDailyPlate to track calories
A+: I have done this faithfully every day since Dec 9th.

4. Don't "overchange" diet
A: What I have done has been workable, I'm not constantly hungry or craving things all the time. I've not tried to go all crazy with whole foods or anything that's a bit too drastic for me at this point. I have clearly passed on a few things that I would like to not pass on when I get to maintenance, but I haven't really felt like I was on a diet more than a few times.

5. Eliminate Desserts
A-: I haven't completely eliminated, but I would say that I've only had any dessert maybe 3 times in the last month and only one time (on NYE) did I have an inappropriate portion.

6. Focus on low fat/cals, high protein, avoid processed carbs
A: Typically have kept my protein vastly above fat, and rarely have carbs by themselves (like bread/chips/etc.) That said I have not gone overboard and still have some carbs in things, etc. I've been averaging well over 100g of protein every day.

7. 6 feedings a day all <500 cals
B: I was better at this the first week than I have been since. I do ok on this topic, I am definitely eating throughout the day, but if I look at my calories throughout the day, I'm still a little low in total before dinner and a little high at dinner.

8. Change eating on the road
A: On the positive side I've pretty much nailed this thus far. On the negative side it's probably the part of the "plan" that I've felt the most restricted (read: will be hard to keep up) by.

9. Supplements
A: Done fine here, been consistent

10. Always eat breakfast
B: If you count protein shakes as breakfast (which I do) than I've been doing well here. Another positive is that I've eaten really healthy breakfasts at hotels on the road.


Measurables

1. Increase energy level - avoid crashes, consistent and higher level of energy all day.
Wow is all I have to say here. I would not have believed after a month how much better I feel. Forget pounds, inches, this alone is worth it. I used to get tired by daily activities, no more, and I rarely feel the need to veg out.

2. Increase energy level - be able to be more active with my toddler
See note above, but this has drastically changed as well, again this is way more valuable than pounds and inches.

3. Increase fitness level - run 5k w/o stopping
I'm still a ways from this one. Running is pretty tough for me to do for some reason, really hard on knees and ankles. I can now sprint at a 7-8 on the treadmill for 90 seconds at a time, but haven't really tried to jog say a mile as it just doesn't feel good. This is still a goal though.

4. Increase fitness level - be able to play anything and not be "dead" after 5 minutes
I'm miles ahead of where I was and miles from where I want to be. Anything with bursts of high intensity is still tough for me after 10 minutes or so but I'm making large strides from where I was Day 1.

5. Change Gut to Upper Body Proportion
On the one hand I can definitely tell a difference in the mirror, on the other hand I was large enough that even losing 23 pounds I feel like I am mostly evenly losing from everywhere so proportions haven't seen a huge different...yet. I think this will chance a lot from say 215 - 195 lb range.

6. Fit into 32 inch pants
I started pretty much maxing out my 42's. Now I am definitely in 40's and close to 38's (keeping in mind that I don't wear "tight" clothes). So seeing some progress but not quite as much as I might have expected given other results...

7. Fit into medium shirts
Still obv a ways away here. I can now go back to wearing many shirts that I've avoided wearing for a while, but still mostly XL's with a few L's here and there depending on fit.



Well that was a lot, but I felt it worthwhile to look back to the beginning. I don't really see the need at this point for any significant adjustments, if I hit a big plateau or something I might, but I'm hoping that I'm varying both food/exercise enough to avoid that (fingers crossed).
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Old 01-10-2010, 09:32 PM   #69  
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Sunday Jan 10th

Didn't do great today. It was my rest day so wasn't going to exercise anyway, but blew lunch pretty bad.

Agreed to go to some lunch with friends and the two pregnant women were craving this pizza buffet place.

On the positive side I ate a big salad first and ate probably half or less of the pizza I normally would have, but it was definitely off plan and put me a couple of hundred calories over my target. I'm more worried about it messing up my water or something prior to weigh in tomorrow, but that's not really a huge deal I guess.

Next week will be interesting as I am not traveling, but work will be tons busier so will have to focus more on getting to the gym.
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Old 01-11-2010, 02:08 PM   #70  
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Weekly Update - Week 5

Starting Weight - 260
Current Weight - 233
Lbs Lost This week - 4


I'm very happy with a 4, at this point that I am now past the easy "low hanging fruit" I sort of have the number 3 in my head as a reasonable average so very excited with a 4. It also puts the 220's squarely in sight over the next week or two.

Observation of the Week - Embracing Randomness as a Benefit, not a Curse

I would describe my life as much less planned/scheduled/regular than most people. Due to my job, travel, and personal preferences, each day is very different. I don't wake up at the same time, go to bed at the same time, work the same hours, eat at the same time, or anything. In addition when I travel (2.5 days last week) it is obviously even more unscheduled/crazy.

In the past I've used this as an excuse for poor behaviours in regards to eating/exercise.

Instead I'm really trying to view this as a huge potential benefit to weight loss. I know that too much consistency, whether in diet or exercise, while vastly superiour to nothing, can also lead to plateauing and getting stuck. That should not be a problem I have. I work out differently every day and eat differently every day.......IF I COMMIT TO DOING IT. This *should* hopefully lead to my body not getting too stuck and actually helping with weight loss.

So my mental goal for the next several weeks is to embrace the Randomness as a benefit instead of using it as an excuse.

Food Observations

Mon - 1907 cals
Tues - 1467 cals
Wed - 2243 cals (on the road 3 meals out)
Thu - 1721 cals
Fri - 1291 cals
Sat - 1318 cals
Sun - 2460 cals (really bad lunch)

If I add up all the cals for the week I'm pretty happy. I'm also really happy with the quality of the calories, with really only 2 meals this week not being "on-plan".

I'm still really on the fence as to whether the pretty significant variation in my daily calories helps or hurts in comparison with having say 1800 calories exactly every day.

If anybody has any thoughts or knowledge on that topic I'd appreciate.

Right now it's workable so that's the #1 criteria, but I'm still curious.

I also discovered this week how much I love chopped salad over regular or tossed salads. I'm the person that will take all of Thanksgiving dinner and mix it up on my plate (to my wife's chagrin) so I guess it makes sense. I just wish there was some place around here that did good chopped salads.

I also discovered a new sweet tooth snack that I did a couple of times an hour or two after dinner (which we eat pretty early). A 60 calorie chocolate pudding cup with 3/4 cup (110 cals) of peanut butter captain crunch! While not the greatest thing in the world, for 170 calories it is an awesome combination of smooth and crunchy and super delicious. I do have to be careful with the PB Captain Crunch in the house though to stay away at other times of the day...

Exercise Observations

Mon - Gym
Tues - Gym
Wed - Short Gym at hotel + 4 miles of random walking around NYC
Thu - Nothing (left hotel at 7am and was booked until arrived home at midnight)
Friday - Gym
Saturday - Gym + 45 very active minutes at a bounce house
Sunday - Nothing (rest day)

Very good this week, a lot of quite varied workouts from the length to the time of day, etc. Most interesting observation came from Wednesday when I made an ill-advised early morning trip to the gym after getting very little sleep and tried to do too much and ended up feeling pretty miserable the whole time. I'm not going to give up on the gym before work on the road, but when travelling from west to east and not arriving until midnight is probably not a great time to "break it in"

I can also now do 20 consecutive "real" pushups, which is a huge improvement from 5 weeks ago.

Looking forward to upcoming week
I'm at home all week so should be able to have a good week. I think seeing the 220's is an achievable goal, but I'll be ok if I don't hit it. Biggest challenge this week will be getting to the gym since I like to go during the middle of the day and it will be a pretty busy work week. And Saturday we have 2 birthday parties to go to. Pretty short list so I need to get after it good this week. Since my wife is having kiddo 2 in a couple of months I'm trying to load up a ton of travel/work for the next 10ish weeks so I can have a lot of hometime when the new kid comes. Overworking and excessive travel is a huge challenge, hopefully these first 6 or so solid weeks will give me the motivation and habits to continue when it gets a lot harder.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:38 PM   #71  
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Monday Jan 11th - The "Sweat Suit" - Kinda gross

One thing I really miss about my previous larger/fancier gym was the dry sauna. I can sweat buckets, and it for some reason it really felt great to go have a nice sweat every once in a while. Not sure there's any truth to it, but I really always felt like I was sweating out random bad stuff and kind of cleansing. And regardless it just felt good afterwards.

My new gym doesn't have a sauna, so I got a sauna suit to try out. I've used it about every 10 days (not something that I think is healthy to use very often) and today was my 3rd time. I only wear the top not the pants and do it while on the elliptical. The big thing is to make sure I am well hydrated before/during/and after the workout and don't push the workout to high intensity.

It's unbelievable how well it works (or how much I sweat). Today I lost just under 3 pounds of water in 45 minutes at medium intensity, that's a lot of sweat. Gross...but refreshing!

To be clear for anyone reading, the sweat suit has NOTHING to do with weight/fat loss, I drank much more than 2.4 pounds in water before and after this to compensate for the loss. I don't know why but it just makes me feel "cleaner", I don't really know how to describe it.

I do look like a spaceman while wearing it though haha.

The rest of today went pretty well, was too low on calories through dinner. I did a good job of portion control at dinner when my wife made one of my faves (beef stroganoff).
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:14 PM   #72  
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Tuesday Jan 12th - Exercise Pain and Friends

Good overall day today, I'm starting to get to the point where I realize I don't have any excuses on days where I am at home. I can find a way to get to the gym and I can find a way to eat right. Travelling will still be a challenge, but week-days at home there just shouldn't be excuses.

Only a couple of notable things from today. My lower legs and calfs really hurt today at the gym. I've been trying to do 90-120 second full run at 8 on the treadmill at the end of my 5 minute warm up walk to really get my heart rate up, but maybe that is a mistake. I'll back off of that for a day or two.

For some reason I really want to be able to run, I feel like my lungs after a month are in good enough shape to run a mile straight, but my legs just aren't holding up well enough. I'm trying not to push it but am getting impatient.

>>>

We have dinner with 2 close couple friends once a week. This is always a challenge, tonight it was salad, crock-pot lasagna, and peach cobbler with ice cream. I did good, had a big salad, normal portion of lasagna (to me normal is between what I dieter would eat and what I used to eat) and skipped the cobbler. It was tempting to eat more, but less tempting than it was a month ago which I guess is a pretty good sign.

I also felt pretty good about getting to eat the lasagna because I knew exactly where I was for the day calorie-wise so knew I could have a normal meal and be ok. It keeps coming back to the calorie counting being freeing instead of restricting which is great.
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:23 PM   #73  
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I thought of you today while planning out my meals and such for a business trip next week...I'll be there 5 days, so you bet I'll be hitting up a grocery store first thing and in that hotel gym BEFORE I go to my meetings for the day.

Sounds like you're doing well!
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Old 01-13-2010, 08:31 AM   #74  
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I thought of you today while planning out my meals and such for a business trip next week...I'll be there 5 days, so you bet I'll be hitting up a grocery store first thing and in that hotel gym BEFORE I go to my meetings for the day.
Sounds like you're doing well!
Mandalinn, that's great! I have a couple of full week trips coming up, and I think for the first time ever I'm going to put some effort into finding a hotel with free in-room refridgerators (for some reason the nicer hotels often don't have) to support a grocery store run.

I'm going to be running all day small group meetings that run back to back so I need to think of a snack or something that I can eat while in a meeting that won't be too unprofessional to stave off the post work hunger....hmmm....
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Old 01-13-2010, 09:53 AM   #75  
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Well after 8 days of the new lifestyle change, and tracking calories, I have lost 13 pounds, and most of that was without alot of exercise!! I have to get my big a$$ up and get to the gym, ASAP, but I am proud of the loss, just need to get the exercise in gear. I am stayin garound 1200- 1600 calories a day, but Sunday I had a little hiccup, with football and beer and chicken and fish free at the local club, I went to about 2600 calories, but got back on the horse the next day. My focus for the next week is to get a exercise program going, I am also working on getting a wii. Has anyone been working out with Wii fit and is it a good workout???

Thanks so much for you rblog, really an inspiration.

Later and keep it up
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