The following is me answering a question about how I lost weight. I wrote this over a year ago when folks started noticing I was going down in size and started asking me about it pretty regularly. I have had a very busy couple of years and have had to change my eating habits to try to keep up with my life. Stay tuned, I’ll gain again 🙂 I’m only human.
This is not medical advice, this is me merely saying what has worked for me.
Here is what I’ve been doing. It’s worked well for me. I’m not preaching or saying this is the end all but its worked for me and some folks wanted to know about it so I thought I’d share :). This is written as it comes to me in typical rambling fashion and Yes, I do eat everything I put on SouthernPlate.com.
The main thing is, I know myself. If I put myself on a diet or start getting restrictive, I’m gonna go into MegaPity Party Mode (MPPM). Mega pity party mode yields one result – me eating anything and everything I could ever dream of.
So my #1 Rule is AVOID MPPM at all costs.
If you’re like me, I’ve found that I am always either gradually gaining or gradually losing. So my intent is not to lose weight so much as to avoid gradually gaining weight. Without focus on trying to lose, it is easy not to obsess and end up in MPPM mode.
#2 Rule is that I do my best to make the smart choice versus the bad choice.
There is always a choice to be made. For example, on those days where I am forced to go to that golden arched restaurant: I don’t actually enjoy anything they have there so rather than eat a hamburger and fries (over 600 calories and 37 grams of fat), I get a grilled chicken snack wrap, apples with caramel dip, and diet dr pepper or unsweet tea for 340 calories. Smart choice versus bad choice.
The main thing is it isn’t about calories, I don’t focus on them at all and just looked them up for this, it’s just about common sense and Smart Choices versus Bad Choices.
I eat whatever I want and whenever I want, for the most part. I don’t want to deny myself anything and end up triggering an MPPM.
I did not go on a diet, I do not deny myself anything I really want, and I eat whenever I want to eat.
There are a few exceptions to this and here are the things I consider bad that I do my level best to avoid: White bread, crackers, pretzels, assorted empty carbs.
The key is that anything I eat has to have some nutritional value and then I refuse to consider it bad. If I am eating just to eat, I keep it quick, easy, and small. I’ll get a fiber one yogurt or a cheese stick or even ~gasp~ a piece of bread, as long as its wheat.
I figure there is a 50/50 chance that when I start craving something to eat, even if I don’t feel hunger, my body may be trying to get a little boost to maintain it’s energy so this is my justification for not denying it. Well, that and my #1 rule of avoiding MPPM at all costs.
I can and will eat anything I want, I just make a smart choice versus a bad one when it comes to quantity. If it’s something that is bad for me, I eat a lot less. If it’s something that is good for me, I eat as much as I want.
I try to cut down as much as humanly possible carbs. But if I’m at a restaurant and Katy has fries and I want one, I eat one. Then I’m happy. At Cracker Barrel they bring a plate of biscuits. Now I know biscuits are bad but I also know that if I don’t have one I’ll go into MPPM so I eat half of one.
Then I’m happy.
Eat protein first, vegetables second, carbs last. Drink as much water as you can, drink as few carbonated drinks as you can handle.
If it has nutritional value, I’m not going to feel guilty. I refuse, absolutely refuse to consider carrots, corn, or potatoes to be bad for me. I’m from the old school of food pyramid thought and to me, considering fruits or vegetables bad for you is nonsense. I was also taught in my college Therapeutic Dietetics Class that a well balanced diet goes primarily by the Food Pyramid.
Meat is good. Meat is my friend. Meat is protein. Protein likes me.
Water likes me. My body runs on water and runs more efficiently and effectively the more water I give it.
Eat breakfast. Eat Breakfast. Eat Breakfast. I skip this most days (or used to) but I find that if I skip it, later on hunger hits with wild abandon and I go after the first thing I can find, which is usually junk food.
I try to eat at least a cup of fiber one yogurt for breakfast. That stuff is awesome. I swear I can even taste the graham cracker crust in the Key Lime flavor and I will forever more be stunned by how filling and delicious it is with only 50 calories! If I were to actually cook breakfast for myself I’d eat oatmeal or eggs with cheese…both have great nutritional value. I also love low fat cheese sticks and I get the individually bagged ones and eat at least one or two a day.
Other than keeping handy foods around the house for snacking and quick meals, I eat whatever I cook for my family. I just make smart choices about what I put on my plate. Spaghetti and meatballs will be more meat and less pasta for me orIi might even make whole grain pasta. If we have a casserole, I just eat the casserole and stop when I’m full, no big deal.
I stop when I’ve had enough. This is a tough one I know. But we went to Krispy Kreme, I wanted a doughnut. So I ate one, a hot one, very slowly, I chewed and really enjoyed it. After ¾ of the doughnut, I gave the rest to my husband to eat. ¾ was enough.
At Cracker Barrel, I got half a biscuit. I put butter on it, I added apple butter. I ate it, I chewed and enjoyed it. I left a bite size piece on my plate but I’d had enough. I left two slices of fried apples in my bowl – but I’d had enough.
I like to get a grilled chicken sandwich at Burger King from time to time. It seems like every time I do, I end up eating it and start feeling full halfway through, so I take the rest of the chicken off the bun and eat that to finish my meal, throwing the bread away because I don’t need it anyway and the chicken is what is better for me. So I look at the sandwich and make the smarter choice of which part I’m going to eat.
It took some getting used to this one because I automatically think that I need to finish what I start eating. Hand me a bowl of grits and I feel like I need to eat a whole bowl of grits, even if I’m stuffed when I put that last bite or two in my mouth. Now though, instead of having a MPPM when I leave things unfinished, I have a little Victory Party instead. I bet skinny people eat like that…its fun to feel like a skinny person.
Remember, It’s all based on one thing: I decide to make good choices versus bad choices.
So staying away from sweets except in moderation hasn’t been a problem for me. Like the pumpkin crumb cake, I cut a piece, ate about two bites of it, and it was GOOD! Then I figured I’d eat another bite or two after supper. Rather than eat one piece then and another piece later.
I look at food in terms of bites, not pieces. That way if I have a few bites of pie, I don’t feel sorry for myself that I’m not getting a *piece* of pie. I had a bite or two = I had pie! I enjoyed it, I ate what everyone else was eating, and I avoided MPPM!
Now, starting out I ate a little more than I do now because part of me was clinging to the whole “Oh no! I’m going to deny myself!” panic. Once I kinda got used to being able to eat whenever I wanted, I let go of the panic gradually and settled down into not fretting over it, in other words, not thinking of food every second. (Even though I am usually writing about it just about every waking moment). I just calmly told my inner panic that I was NOT going to deny myself. “Chill out, Christy, you can eat. Breathe, its okay!”
When I first started focusing on this I was a size fourteen. Again, my goal was not to lose weight but to avoid gradually gaining. My fourteens got looser and looser. I tried on twelves and was stunned that they fit! I was thinking “WOW! I’m a twelve again! I can soooooooooo live with this!!”
And then last week I noticed my twelves were baggy. It was hard to work up the courage to try on the tens because I just knew in my head that they would never fit. I finally did and…they actually did. So what did I do? I took Miss Katy straight to the mall to try on tens by other designers to see if they fit me in a size ten, too and they all did! I was so stunned. Because I haven’t been focusing on losing weight, just making smarter choices, it just kinda feels like it has come off on its own and is soooooooooooooo much more fun. Its like not thinking about Christmas and then waking up one morning to find presents under the tree.
I have been thinking “maybe this is somehow in my head and I haven’t really lost weight. Maybe all of my old clothes have somehow expanded from time in storage.” I know this sounds ridiculous but me being a size ten without killing myself sounds ridiculous too.
So today at the Doctors I had them look at my file and tell me my last weight and weigh me again. Wow. 22 pounds and YES I had my shoes on and NO I didn’t go to the bathroom first ~giggles~ Y’all Weight Watchers folks know what I’m talking about here!
Okay, so in recap here are my rules:
#1. Avoid MPPM at all costs
#2. Smart choices versus bad choices.
That’s it. Honestly. Just start with rule #2 and you’ll be on your way.
Smart Choices Versus Bad Choices will have you gradually losing versus gradually gaining.
Now I gotta work at not jinxing myself by writing all of this and letting y’all read it! lol
Hope this inspires or makes sense o some of you. I’d love to hear back from you in the comments but I prefer not to get into calorie or fat gram talks as that would require me pulling out textbooks and doing math- My text books are dusty and Math is against my religion 🙂