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Back to Tracking

I’m back on Calorie King, tracking my food.  And it is NOT pretty.  Not at all.  On Monday I ate 2800 calories.  Seriously.  Seriously.  According to my nutritionist, I should be “allowed” 2600 calories (which seems insanely high to me), so the fact that I went ABOVE that is inconceivable to me.  Without really having all that much that is out of control…  Unbelievable.

I’ve done fairly well the past few days, but still really surprised at how much I’m eating.  And how different it has been from how I ate before I got pregnant.  It doesn’t FEEL all that much different, though.  It’s not like I feel like I’m allowed to eat all these things that are so yummy, and fatty, and high in calories.  I still have the guilt.  But I still give in to it.  And that’s got to stop — not a diet.  I’m not trying to LOSE weight (of course), but I really can’t keep eating the same way that I have been.

All that said, we leave tomorrow for Maui.  I’m not going to go crazy with calorie counting there, but I’m also going to make sure that I don’t just throw all caution to the wind and inhale everything that I see.  It really is a good thing that I can’t have a Mai Tai!  But, I’m a sucker for ‘mocktails’, and will need to reign that in a bit…

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Small > Big

Yes.  I know math.

But hear me out…

I made the realization this week (not sure why it took me this long!) that I was not, in fact, going to meet goal weight this year.  Not that this should be such a surprise, but it still kind of hit me.  I realized that the most that I could possibly lose by the end of the year is 30 pounds.  And, frankly, that’s a crazy stretch.  Like ca-razy.  I can’t remember the last time that I actually lose 2 pounds per week, let alone 10 pounds per month.  I know that 10 pounds per month isn’t a whole lot, and it isn’t unhealthy, but my body just won’t let go of weight that way.

So I started think about why.  Why can’t I consistently lose 10 pounds per month?

I started to think about my Aunt, who has recently lost over 45 pounds in 14 or so weeks.  I am so pleased that she’s been able to lose weight; however, she had some pretty big changes to make.  She was focusing her food on processed stuff.  She didn’t “shop the perimeter”.  There were very few fresh (or frozen) fruits or vegetables in her diet.  She used food as a prize.  She didn’t know that it was important to eat smaller meals, and do so every 3 or so hours.  She favored high fat cuts of beef to chicken, seafood, or turkey.  She ate out regularly, always choosing the most decadent thing on the menu, as a celebration.  Even if it was a random Tuesday night.  She made things like white truffle oil macaroni & cheese.

My goodness was that good.  But when she sent me the recipe, I deleted that email.  Because I knew that there was no reason that I needed to ever make that meal.  None.

Oh, and she did not move her body.

The thing is:  She needed to change everything.   So when she started making relatively easy changes (says me – I’m sure she’d remark something much differently!), the weight started coming off.  Immediately.  Cutting out salt didn’t hurt – according to my mom, she lost 11 of those 45+ pounds in the first week, which I can only attribute to water weight.  But it’s kept falling off of her!

And I’m jealous.  Because I have made the “right” choices for years.  I have followed her “diet” (don’t even get me started on “diets”) for years.  YEARS.  And I am 211 pounds.  I just cannot wrap my mind around this. 

So then I was really asking:  WHY?!?  What am I doing so wrong that I’m still this size?

And while some of the reasons that I came up with came out as excuses, I legitimately believe that I cannot physically lose 10 pounds per month because I don’t have the ability to cut that many calories.

I have not been logging my food the way that I would like to.  But I do know that more often than not, I make good choices.  I do not eat fast food.  I limit fried food.  I eat fruits and vegetables and lean protein.  I enjoy healthy food more than unhealthy food.  I steam my meals, or eat them raw.

But, I eat too much food, and need to make changes in my portion size, even for healthy foods.  I also tend to make small choices that are adding 100 to 200 to 300 extra calories to my day.  But, even cutting an extra 300 calories per day from what I eat now, that only adds up to 2,100 calories per week.  And we all know that 3,500 calories = 1 pound.  So I need to cut about 1,000 calories per day to lose 2 pounds a week.  Even with a few ‘bad’ days, my caloric average intake is about 2,000.  So to cut 1,000 calories per day would be a 1,000 calorie day.  Which is not healthy.

Add in my exercise:  at least 60 minutes, 4 days per week of cardio, lifting, Pilates, or swimming.  As my trainer says, I have the exercise thing down.  But I’m trying to increase my burn, because I don’t have enough calories to “play with” in my food.  Up that to at least 5 days per week, and add in a few 2-a-days.

So moving forward, I’m incorporating small changes.

Small change + small change + small change = BIG change  

And because I can’t make big changes to the way that I eat or how I move my body, I need to do all that I can.

Changes that I’ve made so far:

  • Choosing grapes as my oatmeal “topping” instead of granola at breakfast yesterday
  • Choosing water over a flavored iced tea at lunch yesterday
  • Eating only my banana for my snack in the afternoon, instead of having the apple as well
  • Walk across campus to meetings, instead of dialing in
  • Grapes with my sandwich for lunch, instead of Baked! Doritos
In each of these cases, I had to stop.  Think about what I wanted.  And make a different choice than what I wanted.  But then when I had the other choice, I wasn’t deprived.  Actually?  The grapes instead of granola?  Better.  The apple?  Would have been too much.  The Doritos?  They make my tummy hurt.  So in the end, I made the choice that I needed to make.  And I made the choice that I really wanted in the end.
I’ve set a target, with my trainer, to lose 1.5 pounds per week until the end of the year (and moving into the New Year).  Ahhh, I can’t believe I’m already planning the New Year!  Over the next 13 weeks, until the end of the year, I envision a number of other changes in the way that I make these choices.  Are you ready?

What are some big or small changes that you’ve made that have made the most difference in your weight loss?

What’s for Dinner?

I’m sure you’ve heard that question once or twice.  Maybe once or twice this week…

Last week I gave you a bit of a teaser, and left you hanging…  But, I’m not going to do that today!  I’m finally going to spill the beans about how to make the perfect meal plan.

I have a number of meals that I can whip up quickly.  Like tonight:  wild salmon, topped with lemon juice, dill, and garlic granules.  With veg and some sort of carb on the side.  Tonight’s veg & carb was leftover from a few nights ago.  Delicious!  However, tonight’s meal was an anomaly, though.  Normally, if I whip something up, it’s not well planned.  But when I plan, I definitely eat much better!

I plan meals on Sundays.  My Sunday mornings go a bit like this:

  • Wake up & grab the paper
  • Make coffee & breakfast
  • Eat breakfast while reading the paper & clipping coupons
  • Break out the Grid
  • Review the coupons, food in the fridge, freezer & pantry for what’s best this week (pull out the grocery circulars, too – ours come on Wednesdays)
  • Complete the Grid
What?  You don’t have a Grid?!?  I found this great mousepad at a local stationery store.  It’s a perfect meal planning grid!  It’s basically just 7 columns wide by 7 columns long, so it fits the days of the week & the Meal / Snack combination.
 I start by filling out any meals that I know I’ll be eating out – Thursday night dinner, for example.  I’ll just make a big X, and indicate “out” – or, even include nights when we plan take-out (like the night that our cleaners have just cleaned the house – I certainly don’t cook those nights!).  I also tend to X out snacks on the weekends, since I’m usually either grabbing something or (more likely) having bigger meals at mealtimes, so I don’t plan for snacks then.

After that, I’ll start with dinners.  I’ll move some chicken, fish, or beef from the freezer (usually enough for 2 meals) to defrost in the fridge.  I also base my decisions on the veg that I have in the fridge.  We get a CSA delivery once every 2 weeks.  I do my best to use that up within a week and a half with planned meals.  So, if I get celery root (for example), I’ll search for recipes that have celery root.

I have  few go-to cookbooks, as well as a file folder of recipes from magazines (that I’ve torn out).  If I have something odd in my CSA bin that week, I’ll head to the inter webs to find a tasty-sounding recipe.  I’ll usually try 1 to 2 recipes per week that I haven’t tried before, and mix in a few meals that I’m super comfortable making (if the new recipes don’t turn out, I don’t want to be disappointed a few days in a row!).

Once I finish the dinners, it’s really easy to complete the lunches!  For lunch on Tuesday, for example, I eat leftovers from Monday’s dinner.  I’ll do my best to mix it up though.  If I had grilled chicken breast with roasted veg for dinner, I’ll top that on arugula and add some goat cheese for a great salad!  Since we typically make 4 meals’ worth of food for dinner, for my hubby & I, this works out perfectly!  Once we’re finished with lunch the next day, no more leftovers!  (But, if we’re making something larger, like lasagna, I’ll add in a few more days / nights of leftovers.  It’s all in the plan!)

On to breakfast!  I have a number of go-to breakfasts that I have every single week.  4 hardboiled egg whites with some sort of fruit.  A smoothie with frozen fruit, protein powder, and oatmeal.  Egg white scramble with loads of veggies.  Oatmeal with berries, granola, and nut butter.  The list goes on!  So, I mix a few of those in there (keeping in mind any early meetings), and plop those into the Grid.

Snacks are easy.  Every snack has protein & some type of carb.  So, I have a number of go-to snacks, too:  greek yogurt with fruit or granola, almonds with fruit, nut butter with celery, cheese and fruit or veg, 2 hardboiled eggs and veg, granola and fruit.  I make sure that I’m not having too much nut butter in 1 day – so I’ll be sure that on a day when I’m having oatmeal or a smoothie with nut butter, I won’t also have a snack with nut butter.  It’s all about balance!

Now your Grid is complete!

Time to plan the grocery shopping!  We shop at Trader Joe’s or Sprout’s on a weekly basis – your local store would work too.  I hit up Costco about once every 3 to 4 weeks for the major items (wild salmon or organic chicken breast – which can be frozen, although I prefer my fish never frozen).

I flip over the Grid, and start determining, based on the items on the Grid, what I need to buy.  I’ll separate the page into various sections of the grocery store:  Pantry, Dairy, Meat / Seafood, Frozen, Produce.  Then I’ll start adding in the ingredients from my recipes and the grid boxes, along with how much I need.  How many tubs of yogurt?  What size of Vegetable broth?  (Would a can work, or do I need one of those 4-cup boxes?)  I’ll then take stock of standards that we always have on hand, to be sure that I’m all set.  Do I need more garlic?  How are we on whole wheat flour?  (I usually have a list going of staples, like those – so I won’t forget).

Most Importantly:  When I’m in the store, I stick to the list!  Since I already know what I want is on sale, I’ve already factored that in.  And I don’t let myself get sucked in by something that looks tasty at the store.  Because if it’s not in my house, I won’t eat it!

Do you meal / menu plan?  Any tricks that you’d recommend for me?

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