Monday, August 17, 2015

My Weight Loss Plan, Or, Eating Habit Redux

It all starts with a good breakfast, right?
For the first time in my life, I'm on a diet. Well, sort of. My doctor flat out told me I should lose some weight, as much as I can, to ease up the stress on my arthritic hip. In past I've always tried to stay healthy by keeping active, not changing my eating habits. But since adding in more exercise is tricky with a hip problem like this, those calories have got to come from somewhere.

So I took my doctor's advice to heart & started the next day on a list of how I'm going to do it. I'm a list maker, if you didn't already know. Planning things like this & committing it to paper (or Evernote at least) gives me a more concrete goal & a path to follow.

Anyway, the reason I said I'm 'sort of' on a diet is because I'm not counting calories or completely eliminating anything from my diet. I'm not following any specific plan like Weight Watchers or the Atkins diet or getting the help of any experts. I've changed how I eat quite a bit--ten days or so in I'm still adjusting--mainly getting rid of bad habits.

In case you want to hear the details, this is what I'm doing, in no particular order:

  1. Portion control. I'm learning what the serving sizes for various foods are supposed to be, instead of just heaping my plate full of whatever I like. This means some measuring until I can more accurately eyeball a cup of pasta or 1/3 cup of bran cereal, for example.
  2. No more emotional eating. I used to eat a big snack after I'd put Bronte to bed, sometimes finishing off most of a whole big bag of chips on my own. I also did a lot of mindless snacking during the day when I was home. Then there was the therapy eating. Bad day? 100 grams of quality chocolate should fix that, right? So I'm consciously trying to reach for veggies or fruit in these situations, or just have a drink instead.
  3. Slow down. I am a classic fast eater. Having children, particularly a food chucker like Bronte has made this habit worse because I eat as fast as I can when I get the chance, in between dodging flying dishware, refilling sippy cups & all the other madness that goes on during meals here.
  4. No more midnight snacks. This is one of the hardest things to cut out, I'm finding. It's the only time of day when I get to eat in peace, without a child stealing half my food, or dumping it on the floor, or 
  5. More fish. I'm not a huge fish eater, but the healthy fats in it are good for arthritis, so I will endeavour to eat those omega-packed critters at least once a week.
  6. Less dairy & meat. I was never worried about my calcium intake before because I ate so much dairy. Greek yogurt, cheese of all sorts every day, milk, ice cream, butter. I'm fairly sure I was eating at least double the recommended daily servings of the stuff... which leads me into my next point.
  7. Less fat. Fatty foods like 11% Greek yogurt, cheese, ice cream, butter, chips & fries, etc, etc are my Achilles heel. But I just can't keep eating all that stuff AND lose weight, so it's got to go. It's easy to jump on the 0% fat processed product bandwagon, but I'm trying not to just switch to the 'diet' version that is often reduced fat but increased sugar or sodium.
  8. Oil-free cooking when possible. Braising, steaming, baking or just raw instead of fried.
  9. Healthier alternatives. Unbuttered popcorn instead of chips. Unsweetened fruit smoothie instead of milkshake. Salsa or mustard instead of mayonnaise or fatty dip.
  10. No pop. I love fizzy drinks, but the huge amounts of sugar in pop are empty calories I just can't afford. So I'll treat myself to sparkling water sometimes. Plus I'm still drinking beer--just less of it.
  11. More veggies. I usually ate a good amount of fruit before, but didn't really eat enough vegetables. Now when I'm really hungry I will try to stuff myself on veggies. Having tons of celery, cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, & tomatoes in the fridge really help with this.
  12. More fibre. I'm trying to eat whole grain everything. We already weren't too bad about this, but there are 
  13. Limited treats. I'll allow myself a dessert like a chocolate bar or cupcake once a week so I don't have to feel guilty about joining in the sugary fun at birthday parties. I can have chips once a week, but only one proper serving. Those are my main vices & I have to admit, I ate one or both daily until this month. When I get sweets cravings I'm trying to eat fruit or chew gum instead.
Trying to break my fatty-salty midnight snack habit.
As I said, this isn't any specific plan, it's just improving some of my bad habits & eating more sensibly. So far it seems to be working. I feel full after meals, but I actually get hungry before meals now, which I never used to with all my mindless snacking & huge portions. It ain't easy to say no to chocolate & dessert & chips & cheese & all my other vices, but I find that I can do it. Osteoarthritis is a good motivator, I guess. Ha!

I'm not planning on turning Spokesmama into a diet or fitness blog--don't worry--but I will probably post about this more in the coming days & weeks. I've actually already been on this 'diet' for over two weeks, so there will be a 'results' post soon.

Let me know if there's anything you're curious about in the comments below.

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