Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My diet

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Ive lost a little weight.  Not a lotabout 8-9 pounds.  I only have between 2-4 more to go.

Before I tried this, Ive never been on a diet.  Never.  For more than half a day, anyway.  But I thought it was time to quit sitting on the overweight fence.  And it did require a diet, and not just exercise.

I kind of hesitate to post any brands of products (though it would probably increase traffic to my blog LOL).  Suffice it to say that I used (am using) a well-known brand of shakes and bars in addition to simple calorie counting.  A brand whose name means quick weight loss.  Ahem.  Now that were all on the same page, Ill try to explain why I chose what I did.

Why was not too hard.  The brand is a household name, and they have a website.  One that will create meal plan suggestions for you, based on the number of calories your diet requires.  They even have recipes (serving 4!) for meals that fit their calorie requirements that the rest of my family would be willing to eat.  It was an easy starting point for me.

I chose a 1500 calorie diet, though I only follow it on workdays.  At home on the weekends, I try to eat normally, just not stupidly.  I.e. no devouring a dozen donuts plus a 16oz steak and French fries and 2L of soda.  The part-time diet thing seems to work for me.  I pack my lunch for work every day anyway (the alternatives are expensive, time consuming, and not terribly appetizing).

Ina  typical day I eat:

Breakfast: (200 calories)  A shake.  Ive tried a couple of varieties and I usually make a mocha.  1 cup skim milk + 1 scoop of chocolate powder + 1 tsp of instant coffee + crushed ice + blender = iced mocha.  Yes, they sell the stuff premade, and they sell a mocha flavor, but I can buy the chocolate powder in a big tin at Sams Club and its way cheaper.  I could also skip the shake and go with 200 calories of cereal or a muffin (homemade, from a recipe that gives you calorie counts) or whatever here.

Morning Snack: (100 caloreis)  a light yogurt.  Ive been buying the store brand lately, and theyre both good and cheap.

Lunch: (400-450 calories). 

Option 1:  a whole-wheat mini-bagel (or half of a normal size) with peanut butter and jelly.  I measured the pb&j the first few times, and now just eyeball it.  I think its about 2tsp pb & 1tsp jelly.  I like my bagel toasted, so the peanutbutter melts a bit.  Yum. 

Option 2:  A sandwich.  Sara Lee very low calorie whole grain bread (2 slices) plus ham or turkey (I forget which brandits 98% fat free and 50 calories for like 5 or 6 slices), plus 1 slice of 2% milk Provolone, some honey or Dijon mustard, and any veggies I feel like adding (usually just lettuce, but sometimes bell peppers).

I eat either option with one of the diet companys meal bars”—I pretty much eat either the brownie flavor or the chocolate chip granola bar version.  Some of the others are edible.  Some are really nasty.

There are plenty of other ideas on the website, or you can make up 400 calories of your own food, or 200 + a meal bar or whatever. Even go out to eat.  These two work for me because I like the food, and I dont have to buy a lot of expensive ingredients every weekthose bagels come in a 12-pack, and one package of lunchmeat lasts 4-6 sandwiches.

Afternoon Snack (150-200 calories):  Fruit (Summer is great for strawberries with a  touch of Splenda, or a bowl of grapes), plus 100 calories of a snack bar or something else.  I like granola bars, or Teddy Grahams, or swap the whole snack for a skinny vanilla latte at Starbucks.  Yum  Yum.

Dinner (500 calories):  Home-cooked, or from a restaurant.  For restaurants, I get online and check the nutrition info before I go.  I find stuff to eat at McDs, Chipotle, Subway, Panera/Bread Co., IHOP, etc.  And we cook stuff like tacos (hard shells even!  3 in one dinner!  Read those calorie countsyoud be surprised at what you can eat), stir fry, even chicken nuggets and mac & chz.  Just watch portions.  Do a little math.  Its not that hard!  Sometimes, especially for restaurant meals, I borrow the evening snack calories and use them for dinner.

Evening Snack (100-150 calories):  Also known as dessert.  Fruit (strawberries and light cool whip), or crackers, or ice cream (measure!  Maybe not the super-rich brands, but there are plenty of lighter  options that are good).

Also, Except for the shakes, I drink water, diet soda, or unsweetened hot tea.  If I find that Im having a hungry day (like the day after a hard workout), then I try drinking first.  I only drink 1diet soda a day, typically decaf.  If Im really having a low-energy point, Ill add another caffeinated diet, which perks me up.  Not that I think caffeine is terribly healthy, but I really dont consume that much.

For exercise, I do a 1-hour step class once a week, and go for a 10 minute walk around the building every day at work.  On weekends, we tend to be on the go all the time, and its harder to fit in an organized exercise class.  On the go frequently involves lots of walking (at a museum, big box store, park, etc).  I try to actively play with my childrenkicking a soccer ball around, crawling on the floor with them, swimming, jogging around the neighborhood in a race.  But still, this is one area Id like to improve.  I just havent figured out how to bend time yet.

As far as that rapid weight loss thing goes, it hasnt been that rapid.  I didnt drop 9 pound in a week.  Or even a month.  Try about 3.  And I definitely do fluctuate up and downMonday morning I tend to be at my heaviest (after a weekend of eating heavier food), and Friday is my lightest (the morning after my big workout).

I know this wouldnt work for everyone.  For whatever reason, this combination of food & products & exercise was just about right for my metabolism.  My husband has had no success with this at all, though I suspect Im more careful about budgeting my calories than he is (and he added a mealbreakfastevery day that he didnt used to eat).  I am happy to eat much the same food every day at work, and I didnt have to break any eating-out habits to do this, which made it much much easier. 

I also had to get through a couple of weeks of being hungry before my body settled into the routine.  Not that hunger is a bad thingIm a grownup, not a newborn who screams at the slightest tummy twinge.  But it was an adjustment after years of pregnancy and breastfeeding, where I snacked constantly.  Hunger is a point that I think undermines a lot of diets.  The shakes and meal bars claim that they control hunger for 4 hoursnot so much.   I eat plenty of food, but my stomach had to adjust to the new schedule.  Nowadays, Im rarely hungry during the day (mostly the day after a workout).  I look forward to being hungry.  It makes food taste that much better, more like a reward for my hard work.  Plus, if Im seriously hungry for a day or two (despite all of the snacks and meals), I tend to notice a drop in my weight, which makes me happy.

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