Let’s talk about one of my favorite subjects! Food!!
Sometimes weight loss only needs to be successful for people who need to just make smarter choices. You have the exercise down and the motivation. Now comes food selections. Picking a “diet” that you like and can stick to is difficult. Especially if it’s a diet filled with foods you don’t like. That’s why I decided to do my own thing and treat it as a lifestyle. I didn’t like following a menu or a system designed for millions to use that was the same. I am not the same as everyone. My body type is different. So is yours. Eating real food and just making sure it was the healthiest option was my goal.
So what to eat? I have outlined the food that helped me in my blog post Foods that helped me lose 150lbs. But I’d like to update it a bit and go into a little more detail about why you should choose smart foods.
First off, when you start eating healthier foods, you are hungry. But have you noticed how much room healthy food takes up on your plate? If you make the right choice it’s a full plate of food!
If you fast food it, a burger and a box of fries. Only two things! Really? Enough calories that would total 1200+, which is a little less than the entire day of calorie intake, you just ate an entire day. I’d bet in an hour you’re hungry again. Oops forgot the soft drink better add about 150-200 more calories.
Healthy meal example: 4-6oz of a chicken breast, a whole sweet potato and pile of broccoli (you can even have a salad on the side with a tablespoon of dressing!) you should equal about 400 calories. Perfect dinner! Way more food for less calories and you can have a snack later!
In the beginning of my weight loss journey I relied on frozen dinners from Lean Cuisine, Weight Watchers and Healthy Choice for lunches. It was easy for me. If this works for you do it. I have evolved into so many options now. Pinterest is the best tool for finding foods you like, you can search for specific ingredients. How easy!
I am slowly adventuring in to organics. It’s not because non organic is bad, I just need something different. I still buy all of my vegetables in the regular produce section, but organic snack foods taste wonderful and it’s a nice change! Some of the organic things I have tried Skinny Pop Popcorn (they have several different flavors) huge portion, low calories! Think thin bars! Yummy! Again so many flavors and it tastes like a candy bar! 150 calories. The frozen Alexia products are great! They have sweet potato fries and puffs. Paired with turkey burgers or chicken burgers you don’t even miss the starch! I have tried the whole wheat waffles in the organic section, but I like the whole grain Eggos better! 😉 Just because it says organic does not mean that it is low calorie (just something to keep in mind). I stay away from the chips, Lara Bars and cookies etc. While they taste good, if you look the calorie count is the same as the regular (you may or may not get a few extra chips). Sometimes the benefit is just use of organic ingredients to make the product.
I found this on Pinterest the other day and it is very similar to the approach I took to lose this weight. Here’s the link: http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/1300-calorie-diet-everything-you-need-to-know-about-1300-calorie-diet/. One small difference I made, I took 50 calories off the breakfast and lunch to make it so I could have a snack at night after dinner about 7:30pm. I could not go to sleep hungry. I cannot eat eggs, so my option was to stick with whole grain cereals and a banana for breakfast. It’s funny how I find this now, guess I did know what I was doing!
I’ll admit I didn’t count calories every day, but I did try to keep track in my head of what I was eating at each meal, just so I knew I wasn’t eating past the serving size.
Above I mentioned you can have so much more food with healthy choices. BUT you still have to watch the size of specific foods.
Protein: Pork Chops/Chicken breast, easiest way to gauge, no longer than your hand and no thicker than your palm (unless you’re a giant). Perfect serving size. Ground meats: no more than a palm full. When making burgers palm size and 1 inch thick (precook size). Buy 80/20. Steak is a little higher in fat so I would say stay towards the 5oz portion. If you have scale great, if not use your best judgement and be accountable for going over. Beans great sub for protein. They are very filling and easy to grab when you don’t want to cook! Stick with black and kidney beans they have the most flavor. Lima beans are great as a side, very healthy! Butter beans are really high in carbs.
Starches: Potatoes, noodles, and veggies that are higher in starch. White potatoes are the highest carb in the potato family. You can have them but be cautious of the size. My preference is to have sweet potatoes or red potatoes. Veggies you have to look out for Corn and Peas. These are high in sugar. They will count as a starch. Can you have them yes, with corn look at the size of an ear of corn that should be your serving size. Peas should be used in serving suggestion on packages usually a serving is ¼ to 2/3 of a cup. Noodles: Whole wheat are better for you, if you don’t like them use the regular but your portion size should be smaller. One cup of pasta equals about 200 calories. A cup is usually the size of your fist. Depending on what you are paring it with it will help you gauge how much protein to get to the 400 calories.
Veggies: Veggies you can have an unlimited amount of Broccoli, Cauliflower, Lettuce, and Cucumbers. Fail proof!
Good fat: Avocados, olives, nuts, peanut butter, olive oil, salmon and seeds. Remember these are good for you but servings should be accurate according to the amount on package! They are not free foods.
Bad fats: Fries, cakes, ice cream, cheese and potato chips. Let’s not even go with a serving size, all amounts should be avoided. But you already knew this.
I have found ways of using some foods to make me think I am cheating. But I’m not! Weight Watcher Frozen Dark Chocolate Raspberry Popsicles! This are my favorite! 60 Calories each and sometimes I have two. Still around 100 calories for my snack, maybe a little over but that’s ok! I am a chocoholic! Sugar free snack packs. If I am craving cookies I keep animal crackers and graham crackers on hand. Dried fruit really takes away my craving for sweets. But I make sure to keep the serving size.
As I have said in the past always use the lesser calorie options on ingredients that you can find. You may not think it will make a difference, but when you are using several ingredients they do add up, so you may save 20 calories all the way to a 100 calories when the dish is completed!
I hope this gives you some good ideas to start with. I know it’s hard to give up foods you like, but they are hurting you more than you know. The only pleasure you get out of eating unhealthy food lasts for 10 minutes. How about feeling good about yourself all day, every day? To me that’s worth a lot more than 10 minutes.