Here is some good news in my world. The Tuesday before Easter I decided it was time to be healthier. There were various reasons I wanted to do this. There were a few odd things my body was doing that weren't normal for me and I suspected my diet was part of the problem. Also, at the time, we were still planning a beach vacation this summer and I wanted to look good for pictures. Lastly, I just wanted to be healthier for myself and my family. So....I finally bit the bullet and made some changes.
I wouldn't call myself a yo-yo dieter per say. I have been on a few diets in my time, but it's not constantly up and down. Last time I changed the way I ate was several years ago when I went vegetarian for an entire year. Then there was another time years before that I counted calories keeping a food log and increasing my activity. Both of those worked for me, but niether were what I would call sustainable because they were hard to maintain and continue. They were just......work.
I don't even like the word diet. In my opinion when you hear that word, you think of a temporary plan to get weight off. It can also be associated with the notion of being deprived in some way. Deprivation of carbs, deprivation of meat, you name it. Then, when you do get the weight off, what then? How do you maintain? Continual deprivation of something or another just seems irrational to me and not very practical for the long term.
Therefore, I knew this time it had to be different. As they all say, being healthy isn't temporary, it literally is a lifestyle change. That's not to say I will be strong enough to do this my whole life. I always do fall off the bandwagon and then eventually I become uncomfortable enough to get my butt in gear and do something. I am in that season currently. You never know though, I may just surprise myself.
So here was my plan:
#1 Get control of the sugar. Halloween got me on this roller coaster of constant sweets. It snowballed when Christmas came, then New Years, then Valentines, then birthdays. It never stops. Eventually it was just common place to always have a sweet after every meal. To crave it after EVERY meal. Our sweet Saturday had literally gone out the window.
#2 Part of controlling sugar was also cutting back on carbs. I'm not saying cut it out of my diet all together, but cut back. Not every meal has to have bread of some kind. I started subbing out bread for lettuce wraps. I started making more meals consisting of meat, veggies, and fruit.
#3 Exercise portion control. Jeff had found some dishes that were an exact match to the set we already had, but were larger than the salad plates and smaller than the dinner plates. They were perfect sized. I could fill them up and when I ran out of space, that was it. No seconds. Also, I made sure to make the bulk of the plate veggies, and fruit with a little meat and bread. When I first started this, I would finish my plate and naturally want more because I was used to eating more. But what I found, and what I had suspected all along, once my food had time to settle for 10 minutes, I wasn't hungry after all. Eventually, my body acclimated to smaller portions and I would feel full when I was done with my plate. And even though I knew I was eating less, it didn't seem that way because my smaller plate was covered in food. Something about seeing an entire plate covered with food just makes you feel like you're getting enough even if it is a smaller plate. Weird and hard to explain.
#4 Make the foods I was preparing cleaner. I started researching easy, quick, and healthy lunch ideas. Instead of sauces and dressings, I started using different kinds of olives, peppers, feta cheese, and spices to add that burst of flavor the sauces used to get me. When you entertain your pallet with new and exciting flavors, you don't crave as much food. It is just more exciting to eat. Preparing lunches was a little more work than it used to be, but I didn't mind because it was exciting creating new things I never tried and I was so excited to try them at work the next day.
#5 Find suitable replacements for things I love so I don't have to give up family traditions. I would NEVER be able to stay on this meal plan if I had to give up pizza family movie night and sweet saturday. I found a cauliflower pizza crust recipe and gave it a try. To my amazement it was delish and SUPER close to the real deal. Close enough that I didn't feel like I was missing my old frozen pizza. I also started looking up all sorts of yummy low calorie fruit smoothies that were wonderful replacements for the big sweet I would have every sweet Saturday. Chocolate/Protein (all made with very healthy natural ingredients) shakes were a great meal replacements for my Saturday morning bagels with nutella. When you don't feel deprived, you don't feel like giving up.
#6 Give up soda. This was a sad one for me. I always look forward to one coke zero every day after school. It was a like a reward at the end of the day. However, I know that stuff is horrible for you and have read multiple times it can hinder weight loss. I have replaced my soda with a pitcher of green tea I make to get me through a week at a time sweetened with stevia. It seems to be doing the trick. Also, I have stopped using creamers loaded with sugar and switched to coconut oil and stevia in my coffee each morning.
I am now almost five weeks in and I have lost 12 pounds. I have only veered off my plan twice. We had some left over cadbury eggs that had haunted me day after day when I started. I finally gave myself permission to have one. Cravings for that have pretty much gone. Friday, the family wanted to go to pizza hut to cash in book it coupons for Brennan. I could choose to starve until I got home and watch everyone else eat feeling sorry for myself, or just give myself permission to splurge. I decided it's OK to splurge and probably necessary so you don't start to resent your commitment to the plan. Again, if you allow yourself occasional splurges you don't feel like your punishing yourself. As long as the splurges are few and far inbetween I see no harm in doing them.
So how do I feel? Mentally I feel good knowing I am taking better care of my body. Some of my symptoms of eating too much sugar have started to go away. It's nice that my clothes are no longer snug and are even starting to sag a little. If I loose more I will probably have to go down a size. I'm not sure how much more I will loose until things start to level out. I figure I'll just let my body keep going to where it wants to be on this plan and when it finds its happy weight on this plan, I'll be happy with it whatever it may be. As long as I'm healthy, there shouldn't be a certain number I have to be. I am currently 5 pounds under my wedding day weight which is surprising since I don't feel like I am depriving myself of anything. I am full, content, my pallet is entertained. It is a good place to be. Here's to maintaining. I have a good thing going.