We’ve been through the “why”, now it’s time to examine the “how” part of my weight loss journey. The premise started out fairly simply, stop eating crap. Now I realize that “crap” is a fairly broad term and also fairly subjective, so I’ll break it down. In a broad sense, “crap” is anything processed. If it comes in a package it’s probably crap, especially if the package has smaller packages inside of it and fancy graphics on it.
The few exceptions to that are frozen vegetables (I especially like steam-in-the-bag ones), packages of vegetables and packages of meat. I wish that I could buy all of my vegetables, meat and eggs from the farm stands like I do in the summer but that’s not always doable. I tend to not buy eggs at the grocery store because I have several sources for good eggs, including my own chickens.
What I avoid:
- Chocolate, candy, sweets – anything made with refined sugar.
- Anything made with grains (more on that later) but especially processed grain products like pasta and bread. Even ‘whole grain’.
- Soda, even diet. Sports drinks and energy drinks.
- Artifical sweeteners. I do use them, I make fudge with Swerve in it, but that’s mainly for my husband. I prefer to just not eat them.
Some things are more acceptable but still not awesome. I avoid these as well but not everyone has to or should.
- Whole grains like quinoa
- High sugar fruit like pineapples and bananas
- Coffee, tea, fruit juices, vitamin water – any “enhanced water” products.
“Healthy Whole Grains”:
It seems like the words “whole grains” usually have the word “healthy” stuck in front of them. They travel as a unit, kind of like the words “artery clogging saturated fat” (I won’t go into why I have a problem with that one here). For me, whole grains are not healthy. I am an insulin sensitive individual and grains, even whole grains, spike my blood sugar. I try to avoid spiking my blood sugar on a regular basis and thus I avoid “healthy whole grains” most of the time.
What I eat:
- Eggs – probably my favorite and most readily available fat and protein source.
- Meat and fish
- Low sugar fruit like berries, apples and stone fruit
- Nuts and seeds, that includes nut and seed butter
- Full fat dairy – Greek yogurt, cheese, butter and heavy whipping cream. Note I did not say milk or any substitute milks like almond or cashew milk.
So on a day to day basis that’s what I eat.
Once a week, my husband and I have a cheat day. On cheat day, rules do not apply. We’re allowed to eat as much ‘crap’ as we want. I usually keep cheat day to a single cheat meal. Cheat day has been essential, it’s taught me a lot about myself and a lot about the mentality behind why I was craving whatever I was craving. I’d often find that something I was craving all week was built up a lot more in my mind to be tastier than it actually was in reality. Recently I was dying for some fudge, so I bought some for cheat day. When I finally got to eat it I was just disappointed, it was so sweet that it was almost sickly and I couldn’t eat it.
I’ve made peace with the fact that I’m not, nor will I ever be an athlete. I’ve tried to like exercise but I just can’t shake the fact that I feel like a hamster running on its wheel whenever I try to do any “traditional” exercise. This doesn’t mean that I don’t get any exercise though. I prefer to do something that is a required task, like mowing the lawn, for exercise. It doesn’t sound like much unless you factor in the fact that our lawn is about 2 acres, I mow it with a push mower and it’s quite hilly. It takes me about 2-3 hours to do the entire thing. I break it up into thirds, so 3 days a week I’m doing about 45 minutes of lawn mowing in the summer.
Other things are taking walks (and soon bike rides) with the kids and the dogs, doing other physical tasks outside like gardening and cleaning out the chicken coop.
You won’t hear about crossfit or spin class or “sweat is fat crying” from me. I am not huge on the exercise.
The last thing I want to mention is intermittent fasting. Right now I do IF twice a week; Saturday into Sunday and Wednesday into Thursday. I usually fast for about 24 hours. One time I tried 36 hours but that was too much. What that looks like in practice is that I stop eating on Saturday night at around 7:00 then I don’t eat again until Sunday evening at 7:00. A popular IF plan you may have heard about is the 5:2 diet. I don’t exactly follow 5:2 protocol but I do keep the meal that I break my fast with relatively light just because I feel unwell if I break my fast with a huge amount of food.
I find that IF has kept the weight loss generally steady. Before I started IF, I’d have periods of a few weeks where I’d maintain but not lose. IF seems to prevent this.
I don’t snack. I used to but I stopped doing it because I found that snacking made me want to snack more. I do better if I have set times to eat.
Example Meal plans:
Breakfast – 1 Light and Fit Greek Yogurt
Lunch – 1 apple with 2 tbsp of natural peanut butter
Dinner – 1 oven baked chicken breast, the rest of the plate filled up with roasted vegetables. I usually do roasted cauliflower, asparagus, mushrooms, broccoli, Brussels sprouts – things like that. The vegetables I toss in melted butter or bacon fat and sprinkle with garlic powder, salt (if using butter) and pepper. Parmesan cheese on roasted vegetables is nice as well.
Dessert – Berries and whipped cream + 1 square of very dark chocolate
Breakfast – /
Lunch – /
Dinner – Two eggs done any way, sautéed vegetables
Dessert – Berries and whipped cream + 1 square of very dark chocolate
Breakfast – ¼ cup of chia seed pudding with blueberries
Lunch – Turkey and cheese omelet
Dinner and dessert = cheat. Last week I had a slice of pizza, a couple mozzarella sticks and a lemon bar. Next week my husband is traveling so I’m going to have some pasta (it’s been a while since I had pasta) and some tiramisu or a chocolate bar.
I’ve found that weighing myself every morning is beneficial to keeping on track. I hate weighing in after cheat day, I usually gain at least a pound but I do realize that that weight isn’t fat.
My goal weight of 135 lbs is looming ever closer, it’ll take me to an even 100 lost. I feel like that’s a good place to stop for me. With reaching my goal comes maintenance though and I’m still not sure how I’m going to tackle that. I’ve heard a lot of different theories on maintenance. I’ve heard of people treating days where they are down on the scale as cheat days and days that they’re up on the scale as “follow the plan” days. That doesn’t appeal to me because I don’t really like the idea of swinging between eating crap and eating non-crap every other day. What I’ll likely end up doing is decreasing my fast days to one a week instead of two and increasing my calories from good stuff. Once I get to maintenance and have been maintaining for a while, I’ll make another post detailing what has and hasn’t worked for me.
I hope that this helps! Good luck on your own personal journey.