Let’s Talk About Food, Shall We?

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.

BREAKFAST:

LUNCH:

SNACKS:

EATING OUT:

  • 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

DINNER:

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.

How is your food working for you in your weight loss strategy? Any surprises?

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To Splurge Or Not To Splurge

That is the question. With Valentine’s Day here, a nice meal out is long overdue. I’ve been struggling with my thoughts about going out to eat, and how to achieve success (a good time out with my partner). Here’s the full text of an email I sent to my dietician this morning:

Turns out we’ll be going to The Keg this weekend (the brewery will need to wait for our friends to come back to town next week), but I’ve been going back and forth in my head with an idea, and I’d love to get your professional input on it.
On one hand, there’s part of me that is afraid of stepping outside the guidelines and eating rich “no no” foods. On the other hand, as part of a lifestyle change, I’m worried about creating “no no” foods altogether. One part of me wants to order the filet, cooked as plainly as possible, with only extra steamed veggies and learn to be OK with that; but another part of me is thinking: “Look, you only go out once in a blue moon. Have a half order of mashed potatoes. Have a little cheesecake. It won’t kill you”…
I’ve been digging into it a lot online. Looking at pros and cons of “cheat meals” (as many refer to it). I really don’t know what to think. Some people think it’s vital to combatting cravings. Some even say there are physiological reasons why it’s good for weight loss (something to do with shocking the body into maintaining an active metabolism). I’d love to think this is all true, and to be okay with having a meal that’s purely enjoyable and that’s not a result of a binge, or eating to the feeling of stuffed-ness. Like, just having a rich meal on a nice occasion and it being okay. Is that realistic?
The other part of me is afraid of derailing my progress. Of getting a bite of cheesecake and then having to eat the whole thing. I think I’m being a little irrational in that fear. Like, part of me wants to believe that if I approach it the right way, in a setting that I control in a reasonable way, that I can 100% handle it. How do I know if I don’t test it? Ack, it’s a dilemma!
I think this is my long story which can basically be summed up as: for a special occasion meal, I want to me able to taste things that I feel are a “treat”. Is this disordered thinking?
Your thoughts?
Stay tuned for her response. Ultimately it’s MY decision, and I’m pretty sure I know what I WANT to do, but I guess I’m looking for permission. It’s a weird thing. Is giving myself permission the right answer? Am I worrying about this too much? Yes to both, is what I think is the correct response. Just trying to honestly represent my struggle here. Feel free to chime in if you’ve had any experience with this struggle yourself!

UPDATE IN COMMENTS!