A lot of this blog is about posting results, sharing my successes and fitness ventures, and delving a little into emotional issues that surround weight loss. But it appears I’ve been remiss in not sharing information about the kinds of foods I find myself eating as I make my way along. All the experts seem to say that weight loss is made (mostly) in the kitchen, not in the gym, so it’s an important part of my journey. Let’s talk a little about what I eat!
First things first, no nutritional program works for every individual. We all have different needs, issues, trigger foods, and exclusions (health- or ethics-centered) and what has worked for me may not work for you. That out of the way, I have to admit: I cannot believe some of the stuff that I get to eat! In all my life, “dieting” has been about restriction – about not getting the kinds of foods I thought I “enjoyed” – Mexican food, ice cream, pizza. Dieting would be a period of time I needed to take a break from my normal fare and eat “the healthy stuff” to lose weight, with no real plan for what happens afterward.
The reality with weight loss is that, while one CAN trudge through a restrictive diet like the one I mentioned above, it doesn’t set you up for lasting weight loss. People who spend a year eating from a place of restriction (if they can make it that long) are likely to spend the next putting as much junk in their trunk as they can manage. It’s not our fault we do that – it’s how our bodies work. It’s called a survival instinct!
So how does one “win” in this reality? Well, it involves learning to eat all over again. And in my case, I think lasting success is going to require me being able to partake in those enjoyable foods in a balanced way. I’ll make some examples below, but let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
- One egg with 8 tbsp egg whites, scrambled in olive oil spray, served with pepper and ketchup. One slice of whole grain toast with Smart Balance “buttery spread” with flaxseed oil and natural grape jam.
- One egg, fried in olive oil spray, sandwiched between two slices of toasted whole grain bread, with Laughing Cow light Swiss cheese wedge slathered on each.
- One egg with 8 tbsp egg whites served as an omelette mixed with baby spinach, bell peppers, and Mrs Dash Southwest Chipotle seasonings, served with salsa and fat free sour cream.
- Green Smoothie with mixes of the following ingredients: 0% greek yogurt, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, banana, frozen mango chunks, baby spinach, PB2, cinnamon, greens & reds superfood supplement, ground flaxseed meal.
- Adam’s Natural Peanut Butter with natural grape jelly on two slices of whole grain toast.
- Grilled chicken salad with raspberries, lowfat salsa ranch dressing, sugar snap peas, salsa.
- Leftovers! (see DINNER section below, I have leftovers probably 90% of the time)
- red seedless grapes (100g)
- half banana
- dry roasted unsalted peanuts (15-17g)
- Trader Joe’s Teriyaki Turkey Jerky (1 oz)
- All-natural banana soft-serve (thank you, Roni!)
- Activia Strawberry Patch Greek Yogurt
- Kashi Garlic Pesto Pita Crisps (6-7) with Laughing Cow Light cheese wedge
- 4 oz strawberries with TruWhip light whipped topping
- 20/20 Whole Wheat Chicken Vegetable Pizza (490 cals)
- 20/20 Grilled Chicken with Pesto Zucchini (350 cals)
- Chipotle Burrito Bowl (615 cals)
- Panera Half-sandwich, half turkey chili (or half salad), with apple
- Crockpot Salsa Verde Shredded Chicken – I make this once a week and eat it served with mix-ins like guacamole, fat free sour cream, salsa, fat free refried beans or low sodium black beans, out of a bowl or sometimes in a Tumaro’s Low Carb Multigrain wrap or other low-calorie tortilla.
- Crockpot Cumin-Spiced Pork Tenderloin
- Grilled filet mignon seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, served with asparagus, and sometimes oven-baked sweet potato fries with homemade sriracha lime cream sauce…
I could go on and on with dinners – that’s where I explore the most with recipes. I like to take pictures of my food, occasionally, so below is a gallery of the types of foods I’ll eat from day to day.
Sure, my dietary intake is not perfect – I could always add more fresh vegetables, for example (it’s a goal I’m working towards) – but it’s light years beyond the kind of food I was eating before. Well over 50% of what I eat is made at home, and that is revolutionary for me. I am forever indebted to those denizens of the internet who post healthy recipes online. I don’t feel very creative in the kitchen, and finding yummy recipes that I can emulate has been key in my success.
As for the nuts and bolts, I average between 1000 and 1400 calories per day (sometimes more, rarely less), and try to hit a macronutrient makeup of 35% protein, 25% fats, and 40% carbs. I weigh and measure everything I can, and track everything as closely as I can. And if I have a craving that doesn’t go away after a day or two, I allow myself to indulge (I’m looking at you, Five Guys!) and move on with the regularly scheduled programming.
The biggest takeaway: I still get to enjoy Mexican food, ice cream (froyo and banana soft serve come CLOSE ENOUGH!), and pizza on a regular basis. These feed the taste buds I’ve developed over my lifetime AND allow me to lose weight (and even gain muscle, what the heck?!?). I often step back and think, “Wow, I can’t believe I can eat like this and still lose weight!” It seems a little too good to be true when I’m noshing on a shredded pork burrito with sour cream and guacamole, but it’s working for me.