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MY WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY|FOOD
So, what now?
In My Weight Loss Journey Part 1, I share how I discovered my why. I realized that it was up to me to make some lifestyle changes if I wanted to live a long, healthy life…and I most certainly wanted to live a long, healthy life. So I’d answered my why, and now I needed to plot a course of action, my how. The first area to investigate seemed obvious: my eating.
I had a long history of comfort eating and binge eating, dating back to my teen years. But it wasn’t just that I ate too much, I was also eating the wrong foods. Now, I’m not a believer in declaring any food totally off limits. If you tell me I can never eat a piece of pie, cake, or brownie ever for the rest of my life…well, that just is not going to fly. However, I have a weakness for carbs, particularly sweet carbs, and I knew the amount I was consuming was not healthy. Also, although I enjoy meal planning and cooking and generally prepare healthful meals, we had resorted to a lot of fast food as I had struggled with my health issues, perpetuating a vicious cycle: the worse my eating habits became, the worse I felt.
To begin, I made two decisions: First, to view sweet carbs as treats, and second, to eat healthful food most of the time.
By definition, a treat is “an event or item that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure”. Out of the ordinary. A treat isn’t a daily occurrence. I didn’t set any hard and fast rules on how often treats should happen, but it helped me to adjust my thinking. I limit those treats, and when I do indulge, I savor every mouthful of out of the ordinary pleasure. I also make sure it’s treat-worthy. A special out of the ordinary occasion deserves something special. I rarely waste my time with store-bought cakes, preferring to wait for a delectable homemade dessert.
I try to focus on real food, what some refer to as clean food. I realize this is an ambiguous term, but I aim to eat simpler, natural food that’s close to its original state, without added sugar and preservatives. For example, cooked jasmine rice and roasted chicken is real food; Hamburger Helper is not. So, I aim to mostly eat food that is single ingredient or even several ingredients in a home-prepared dish where I know exactly what is in my food. If I needed a quick breakfast, I would usually choose an apple and a handful of nuts over a commercial breakfast bar. Obviously, this requires some planning ahead so we are always stocked with good options. We do still go out to eat; we still sometimes have fast food, but I keep track of how often this is happening. It’s so easy to get off track!
I work hard to maintain a positive perspective. Rather than focus on what I’m not eating, I decided to focus on foods I’m emphasizing. I ponder what I need to add in: am I drinking enough water? Eating enough produce? Are there new vegetables I could try? New ways to prepare my vegetables? I surprised myself–a lifelong brussels sprouts hater–when I roasted brussels sprouts and now can’t get enough of them! I’ve discovered I like all vegetables roasted, and often fill my entire plate with an assortment. I also eat a lot of fruit, and I enjoy every bite. Every afternoon, I slice up a Pink Lady apple and slowly savor it along with a fresh cup of tea. Consequently, my increased produce consumption has ended a lifelong battle with constipation. (Too much information??)
My Eating Plan
For the first couple months after finding my why, I implemented these above changes. I did lose almost twenty pounds. However, after giving much thought to my long history of yo-yo dieting, I decided to try something new. I decided to join Weight Watchers.
I realize that not everyone can afford this financial commitment. I do believe it’s possible to lose weight on your own; I’ve done it many times. There are numerous free tools to assist you: calorie counters, online challenges, apps such as myfitnesspal. For me, I realized I needed constant encouragement and support, so that’s why I decided to join. When I attend the meetings, I always come away encouraged. I learn new tips and tricks, new motivational ideas. The sharing at the meeting is helpful; I’ve never once left a meeting without something new to implement.
I hope I’ve encouraged you to embrace healthier eating. I still have twenty pounds to lose to make my Weight Watchers goal, which is at the very top of my healthy weight range. Once I meet that goal, I’d like to lose a little more and land comfortably in the middle of my healthy range. Although I’m still above my healthy weight range, I’ve seen dramatic health improvement in several areas. My GERD (Gastroesophagael reflux disease) is fully under control for the first time in several years, although I still need the help of my medication. I have a hiatal hernia and the beginnings of Barrett’s Disease, so it’s important to control the GERD, and I feel much better. My back and knee pain is greatly reduced, although I’m still careful with my knees. My horribly flat feet give me less pain than they did when I was heavier. My blood pressure, resting heart rate, and triglycerides are lower. I sleep better and have much more stamina. So I’ve already seen a great improvement in my health and am hopeful that further weight loss will help with my asthma and perhaps allow me to stop taking my reflux medication. I’m seeing real benefits to taking care of my health and proving to myself that I can make a difference in how I feel by the choices I make every day.
Favorite Healthy Eating Resources
I have some favorite healthy eating resources to share. My favorite healthy food blog is Skinnytaste. I’ve tried numerous recipes from this site, and I’ve loved every single one. I own both of her cookbooks and gave several copies as Christmas gifts last year. You can find The Skinnytaste Cookbook and Skinnytaste Fast and Slow by clicking on the links. I also enjoy Cooking Light magazine, Weight Watchers magazine, and Clean Eating magazine.
I’d love to hear your comments on your health and food journey! Please comment below. To make sure you don’t miss a thing, such as My Weight Loss Journey|Fitness, please sign up here for my mailing list and receive every post in your inbox. Thank you for inviting me into your life. I appreciate you.