Wednesday, April 25, 2012

So...What do I eat?

I’ve talked quite a bit on this blog about the philosophy I’ve taken with my eating habits during my weight loss journey, but to this point, haven’t discussed, in detail what it is I’m actually eating these days.  Someone asked me recently, “So…what DO you eat?”  I thought I’d share a bit about it today!

Since I’m pretty new to this whole blogging thing and don’t know the rules about mentioning name brands (can I do that?) for now, I’ll stick to generalities.  If you want specific brand name information, email me at and I’ll be glad to tell you more.

First things first, as I’ve said before, I use a website and its mobile app to track my calories on a daily basis.  It takes approximately 5 minutes a day to keep up with, and truly, has been key to my success.  Tracking, along with measuring and making sure I’m actually eating the appropriate sized servings, is what has made all the difference for me.  I have a measuring cup and a cheap digital food scale at home, and a measuring cup in my desk drawer at work.  That’s the extent of my weight loss gadgets and gizmos or accessories!

I entered my height, starting weight, age and gender into the tracking app when I first began, along with my goal of losing 2 pounds per week, and it calculated the total number of calories I needed to eat per day to reach that goal.  It also gave me targets for things like fat, carbs, sodium, protein, cholesterol, etc.  Honestly, I haven’t focused on trying to reach the nutrient goals, because the food choices I’ve made within the calorie goal automatically makes me reach the nutrient goals.

When I first began, I was eating around 2,200 calories per day.  With each 10-pound weight loss, the app would reset my goals and my calorie allotment would go down according to my new weight.  As of today, my goal is 1,610 calories per day.  Because the calorie goal goes down slowly and incrementally, you don’t really notice it and it’s not a big deal.  It’s not like it makes you decrease by 500 calories overnight!

A sample of what I might eat in a day now, taken from my actual food journal looks like this:

1.5 cups multigrain cereal 165 calories
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk 35 calories
2 clementines 70 calories

½ cup diced peaches 35 calories
1 cup blueberries 80 calories

2 slices high fiber multigrain bread 70 calories
1 wedge light cheese wedge 35 calories
6 slices deli turkey 50 calories
15 chips, baked potato chips 120 calories
2 tablespoons hummus 70 calories

4oz. high fiber blueberry yogurt 50 calories
1 cup raw broccoli 25 calories

6 oz. boneless pork loin 210 calories
1 cup broccoli 25 calories
½ cup corn 75 calories
½ cup roasted garlic mashed potatoes 120 calories
1 slice high fiber multigrain bread 35 calories
mixed greens side salad with cheese, croutons, tomatoes, cucumbers 110 calories
2 tablespoons fat-free dressing 45 calories

1 serving drizzled popcorn pack 120 calories

TOTAL 1545 calories for the day

So, there you have it!  I eat all day long, as you can see, so it keeps me from ever feeling like I’m deprived or overly hungry.  It keeps my metabolism running smoothly and constantly, without overdoing it any one meal.  Our family also eats out a lot, so I'll address restaurants in another post some other day.

I’m eating real food, regular food, but in the correct serving sizes, and with attention to the choices I make.  Yes, I love broccoli and blueberries, and eat LOTS of them regularly, but I also couldn’t imagine life without bread or mashed potatoes!  I’ve simply found better options and healthier ways of preparing the things I really enjoy and have them in moderation.  I get to eat the same foods as the rest of my family, and we’re all healthier as a result.  I can live with that!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Caught in the Current

In the 10 months since I began my weight loss journey, I’ve been asked several times what it is I’m doing to lose the weight.  When I respond that I’m counting calories and keeping a food journal (which takes all of 5 minutes a day to facilitate), along with making better choices about what and how much I eat, most people have been hesitant to believe that is “all” I’m doing. 

(Yes, I did exercise a couple times a week for the first couple of months, and I’ve had the sporadic day or two here or there that I’ve done a little walking, but to this point, I have not engaged in any kind of regular exercise routine or committed to a workout schedule.  I need to, and I will.  I just haven’t gotten that worked into my schedule the way I’d like to just yet.  That’s my next mountain to conquer…)

Anyway…what I most often encounter is people asking me if I’ve tried some popular fad diet plan or the other, like:
            Have I used this meal-replacement plan?
            Did I drop a particular food type?
            Have I joined an accountability club? 
            Did my doctor prescribe something to help me? 
            Have I heard about that new appetite suppressant? 
            Am I doing the plan they talked about on that recent television show?
            You're only eating (fill in the blank) salads/protein/low-fat, etc. right?

The list goes on and on, but the honest answer to all the questions is a resounding “NO!” 

Yes, I have seen all the ads (read: mostly sensationalized hype!) and even personally known people who have experienced a measure of fast results from using these kinds of products and services.  At the end of the day though, here’s the real question…if you choose this route, is it something you can live with for the rest of your life?  For some people, the answer is a modified "yes" because they find their own way of incorporating these tools into their world and it works for them.  As long as it's a healthy choice in doing so, I'm all for it.  For other people, these things can be successfully used for a short period of time as a tool or quickstart before transitioning over to something more long term, and that's great as well. 

The truth is, however, for most people and most of the “get skinny quick” options, they are simply not sustainable over the long haul.  So many people that use them end up gaining back all they lost and then some and people find themselves utterly disappointed when they discontinue using them and the weight creeps back up.  Most of these programs don’t teach you how to go to birthday parties and fellowship dinners.  They don’t take into account holidays and anniversaries and other special occasions.  They don’t help you find ways to cook meals that your entire family can (and will) eat together each day, or what the best choice is when you go to a restaurant.  They don’t enable you to build the knowledge and resources it takes to succeed with life-long, successful weight loss that will carry you through every bite you take for the rest of your life. 

There is a flood of weight-loss options out there today, but for me, I’ve realized that I can’t let myself get swept away in the pull of the current.  Sometimes, it can sound tempting.  After all, if you’re trying hard to lose weight, who wouldn’t want to lose several pounds in just a few days, or melt away belly flab overnight???  But the reality is that I have to stick with the basic concepts of eating the right foods in the right amounts every day.  I’m working to reverse almost 40 years of poor eating habits, and I can’t get that in a pill, or powder and it doesn't happen overnight.  I can’t rely on a temporary formula to cause a permanent change.  I must do this, one bite at a time!

Months 9 and 10 Progress Updates

I just passed my 10-month mark and I realized that I never posted an update last month, so here are the recent stats:

            At my 9-month weigh-in, I had lost a total of 79.6 pounds, which included 5.5 pounds for the month.
            At my 10-month weigh-in, I had lost a grand total of 85.9 pounds, which was 6.6 pounds for the month.
            I have lost 26.2 pounds so far during calendar year 2012

            I have lost a grand total of 88.8 pounds

There you have it!