JENELOPE   14,676
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Variety may be the spice of life, but consistency is the key to weight loss

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I eat the same thing for breakfast every day, Monday through Friday: two whole wheat waffles with a tablespoon each of peanut butter and homemade jam, with a cup of coffee and sugar-free vanilla caramel creamer. I try to eat nearly the same thing every day for lunch. Lately, it's been one of those pre-washed, shrink-wrapped microwave sweet potatoes with a quarter cup of ricotta, yogurt (Greek or Dannon Light n' Fit), and a piece of fruit. As an afternoon snack, I have a banana and a Kashi granola bar. In the evening, I have certain go-to meals which don't take much time to prepare and made with ingredients I always have on hand. On the weekends, I put either lots more time or lots less time into thinking about what I'm eating. It might be a big, carefully thought-out production, or it might be catch-as-catch-can (I'm often busy with projects and events on weekends). Weekends are a trouble spot right now. I am striving to stick to my goals 90% of the time.

Basically, I try to take thinking out of meal prep as much as possible. I can pop the waffles in the toaster oven and assemble my lunch and snack in my lunch bag while they toast. I can come home late from the gym, work or choir practice and have dinner ready in not much more than the amount of time it takes to feed my cat. Is it the most exciting way to eat? No. But it works for me.

Here's what happens when I don't stick to my plan:
- If I'm out of waffles (God forbid!), I might end up with a fast food breakfast that's easy to eat while I'm driving. At the low end, that's 680 calories for an Egg McMuffin, hashbrowns and a medium nonfat caramel latte. And that's if I'm good and don't opt for the sausage mcmuffin. At the high end, it's a visit to Tim Horton's. I'm not even going to try parsing that one, because I can never seem to stop myself from ordering a ten pack of Timbits, and that's at least 500 calories just for that part, so I'll skip calculating hashbrowns, a ham and egg muffin sandwich and a large mocha latte. (Note to self- you're NEVER going to Tim Horton's again!!!)
- For lunch, I might get soup and a salad from the cafe downstairs. I might go to Target to shop at lunch and end up with a personal pepperoni pizza and breadsticks. I might lose track of time and end up foraging from the snack machine in the break room (a 3.5 serving bag of Kar's Sweet and Salty Mix always seems to appeal to me there). Whatever the result, it ain't pretty. Even the soup and salad aren't as good an option as that "boring" lunch.
- And dinner? If I don't have a plan in place, I might give in to the siren song of Taco Bell and their seductive Mexican pizza, which you can bet I always order as a value meal. Or maybe it will be Arby's Beef and Cheddar, and I'll just have to get an order of mozzarella sticks. Because the cat loves them, of course.

I'm not good at menu planning. I get the best of intentions and will make a two week menu. I might even stick to it for the full two weeks. But I can't keep it up. The way I figure, my "same old, same old" way of eating is also menu planning, just menu planning where you really only have to plan one or two days. For some people it might be like a culinary version of the movie "Groundhog Day." I prefer to think of it as an efficient re-use of resources. It also makes it really easy to enter in the SP nutrition tracker! I use "copy meal to another day" constantly.

I'm rarely feeding anyone else, so I never have to worry about "stir fry again?" type griping. And let me tell you, I've been eating a baked sweet potato for lunch nearly every day for the past two weeks, and every single time I open the microwave door I say, "That smells so good!" I never used to like eating leftovers when I was a kid. Now that I decide what's for dinner, I am perfectly happy eating the same favorite dishes every day. I once had hoppin' John for dinner every day for a week and had to fight with myself not to make another batch that Sunday!

I started doing this two years ago and lost over 50 pounds. I let myself go off the rails last year and I gained 33 pounds of it back. So I'm back on my dietary Chessie System, chugging along and I plan to drop off all of my excess "freight" along the way. No more derailments for me!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

POOHLA711 3/25/2012 7:45AM

    I'm a creature of habit as well. I seem to do best when I stick to the same breakfast (greek yogurt and banana) and lunch (one can of Progresso Soup-- usually Lentil). And Husband and I have our go to dinners as well.
The weekends are also my nemesis. I don't know why it gets into our heads that we've been "good" all week, so we deserve to go to dinner and breakfast on the weekends. And pick up a bag of chips to munch on. And ice cream. Trying to break that habit, but I've conditioned my body to expect that grease bomb. Husband and I are working on changing that. Even created a meal plan last night for today's grocery trip.

Sidebar: If you do give into your Taco Bell craving (as treat, of course) Get. A. Doritos. Taco. You won't be sorry. Well... you may be when you become addicted. But, OMG best thing I've ever eaten. emoticon

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JENELOPE 3/23/2012 10:25AM

    Thanks for the comments! I think for me, the key is finding foods I love that love me back and focusing on eating them pretty consistently. Changing yogurt flavors daily and eating seasonal fruits and vegetables seems to provide enough variation to stave off boredom.

DRPOOH63, I think you are right about the unplanned days. Regardless of how well I think I'm doing or of my good intentions, there always seem to be days that I have to "scavenge" for food. For instance, I have choir practice on Wednesdays (and Mondays, too, until Easter) and soon I will have golf on Thursdays. Usually, I can get to the gym for a quick workout before choir practice, but I can't work out *and* make dinner. I now get dinner at Subway between the gym and choir. I don't always have time to eat the whole sandwich before practice, but at least I get enough to tide me over and I don't have the temptation to stop for a burger or a Mexican pizza afterward. I've also done that before golf, but I often go out for dinner with ladies from my league afterward, so not often.

In fact, I wish I had stopped at Subway for dinner last night. My entire standard "double turkey, provolone and all the veggies you have... oh, and Baked Lays" dinner is only 40 calories more than just the grilled chicken sandwich from Burger King that I had for dinner last night. I need to get some sort of fast food good choices guide for my car.

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DRPOOH63 3/22/2012 11:40PM

    Consistency is the key but you might think about something for those unplanned days. Says the person who can easily go through the drive-thru and get large fries..... I will say that due to what I have learned on Sparkpeople I do go to Wendy's because they consistently have lower calorie options.

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SIMPLY-EVA 3/21/2012 4:50PM

  Your 100% right about consistency. Its super important and has been my downfall time after time. Hopefully I will get it right this time. Today is day one of planning and starting over...again. This time though, I am actually going to make it a point to eat things I like. No cardboardy items and if I dont love it, its not going in to my pie-hole. :)

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MERMAID519 3/21/2012 4:47PM

    My initial thought was oh no you are going to get bored with what you are eating....BUT!!! Then I said, "what am I talking about? I eat 2 packets of oatmeal for lunch almost everyday and as long as I do that I seem to stay on track. I understand, you have to find what works for you and stick to it. emoticon

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GIIIRRRRL SCOOOOOUUUUTS!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Apparently, Girl Scouts are like my own personal Khan.



So, eating an entire box of Savvanah Smiles last night was not the absolute worst thing I have ever done, nutrition-wise. But clearly it cannot happen again. I have one box of Thin Mints and one box of Trefoils remaining, and they are going to get packaged up into individual portions (and half of those portions are going into the freezer. The *downstairs* freezer. Or maybe the garage freezer at my parents' house, 250 miles from my house. Nah, that's a little too extreme.

Anyway, I'm having certain... issues with eating lately. The obvious solution is to stop buying the sorts of snacks that cause binge eating. Another obvious solution: don't sweep it under the rug. Which is what I'm doing right now. I'm shining a light on my fat tooth and my sweet tooth and exposing them to the world. I'm hoping it will sort of cauterize them.

It's worth a shot.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JENELOPE 3/20/2012 12:21PM

    I bought another two boxes over the weekend. When I got home, I put them on the top shelf of the pantry and one box fell behind other food packages. I was about to pick it back up and instead, shrugged and said, "It can stay there for all I care." Those boxes stay unopened until I can work on improving my impulse control!

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SIMPLY-EVA 3/20/2012 11:17AM

  Totally on target with that one! I bought 3 boxes. 1 of my favorites and two of the family fav's. I went through those peanut butter do-si-dos in two days! I also kept making excuses for them so next year I will not be buying them.

Darned girl scouts!

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DRPOOH63 3/8/2012 11:54PM

    I have always thought of one of the sleeves of the thin mints as a serving size. Which of course is not a good thing. I bought 1 box and for me the worst part is that the thin mints are great right of the freezer.......

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BARBIE1967 3/6/2012 1:31PM

  I am with you, girl scouts are evil. Don't let them in, aaaargh. It is one of my trigger foods too and I can't eat just one cookie so I have been pretty good this year about not ordering or eating any. Sorry girls those caramels just make me lose all self control.

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LAURIE5658 3/6/2012 10:21AM

    Girl Scouts are evil this time of year. Evil, I tell ya!

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Why you should always double check

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I noticed something interesting when preparing to enter my lunch foods today. I rely pretty heavily on the nutritional information that others have entered in the food search and often take it for granted that people will enter the correct info or that the info will be up-to-date. I couldn't remember which yogurt I had packed for my lunch today, so I checked the label and incidentally, looked at the calorie info. It was lemon and I suspected it might be less than strawberry. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was 100 calories. Stonyfield Organic yogurts often get dinged for being higher calorie because they have a much higher sugar content compared to other sweetened yogurts.

When I searched for Stonyfield Organic lemon yogurt, I found entry after entry showing 140 and 130 calories, but none for 100 calories. Turns out that all of the Stonyfield 0% Fat Smooth and Creamy yogurt flavors now are 100 calories because they have replaced some of the sugar with stevia. (Fruit on the Bottom flavors do not contain stevia and are still higher calorie and their plain yogurt is still 80 calories per 6 ounce cup.)

Personally, I don't have any complaint about stevia. I prefer it to the aspartame and fructose in other flavored fat free yogurts. I know some people don't like any kind of artificial sweetener, even when that sweetener is "natural." What made me post about this is that if I hadn't checked the label, I would have entered 30-40 calories that I didn't actually consume. This is a fairly recent change (they swapped for stevia about 6 months ago), so most of the info in the food search database is out-of-date.

I think it's important to remember that food manufacturers often change things like ingredients and serving sizes and that foods that appear to be packaged as single servings often contain more than one serving. I once saw a packet of hot fudge sauce that said "Single Serving Size" on the front and "Number of servings per container: 2" on the back. So double check those labels before eating and entering foods, folks!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LITERARY_CHICK 2/1/2012 4:23PM

    I've run into the same problem when using other people's entries. Good reminder to always check that label.

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DRPOOH63 1/31/2012 8:25PM

    Interesting - love or is that hate the story about the single serving fudge. Just crazy the food labeling.


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LNSYLVSDOGS 1/31/2012 1:59PM

    I do the same....rely on what has already been entered into th SP database. I think the culprits are the fact that companies are frequently changing their product sizes, etc. If it's within a few calories, I usually use it....if not, I will then enter in all the ingredients myself. The frustrating part? When I have entered in a food not listed into the SP database, I later try to use that (when I'm entering in DHs foods on his SP food tracker) and what I just entered isn't to be found! Don't have the answer to that one. At all.

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LIGHTNINGRUNNER 1/31/2012 1:52PM

    Good Job for checking out the calories. Input your own from now on....it saves you from checking.

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Bleah

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I crossed my second forbidden watershed weight recently. I remember when I got to my lowest weight in ten years. I said I'd never be over 200 pounds again. I also expressed how happy I was to no longer be part of the obesity epidemic.

Then I lost sight of my goals. I started eating whatever I wanted. I stopped working out regularly. Before I knew it, I was inching over 200 pounds again. I could make excuses and say, "Well, it's not that much. I can lose it again with no problems." But the other day I stepped on the scale and it said 220. There's no way that even I- master of making excuses that I am- can try to explain that one or be anything even approaching casual about it.

I'm not happy about this. It's one of only a very small handful of things I don't like about me and my life. (Despite the weight gain, I still have extremely high self-esteem.) So I'm trying again, and this time I'm determined to make it stick. I'm still working on a plan, so I'm not making any grand pronouncements yet. I do know that I don't have as many roadblocks concerning my schedule as I used to have, so it should be easier to manage. Whether that ends up being true or not is entirely up in the air.

I can say that I am all steely determination. However, if intentions were all it took, we would all be slender and healthy, right?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DRPOOH63 1/17/2012 10:56PM

    Sounds like you have a plan and a focus emoticon.

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GOLFGMA 1/17/2012 8:24PM

    Sounds like you are determined and really that's what it is all about, how determined we are. We must not lose sigh of that. It isn't just about losing weight, but, about giving our bodies the right kind of fuel to keep us feeling well and healthy. I have been trying very hard to use the tracker and really look at the end of day report to try and get the right amount of everything like cholesterol, calcium, etc.and I really do feel better already. I wish you much success with your determination. emoticon

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LIGHTNINGRUNNER 1/17/2012 3:41PM

    Always remember you aren't alone. I too started eating way to much to often. We can do it again. Recommit to Spark and the healthy lifestyle.

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JENELOPE 1/17/2012 3:10PM

    Thanks, ladies! You guys are my "rocks of encouragement." Paula, I'm not brave enough for the "before" pictures, but maybe I should try. I have to find my camera's battery, since there's no way they're going on my work phone! I'm going very veggie/fruit based this week, myself. Not quite a cleanse, because I'm also making sure I get plenty of whole grains and lean protein (and enough fat to stick with it ;-) ).

And yeah. Ann Arbor. I'll be there. emoticon

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POOHLA711 1/17/2012 1:40PM

    Welcome back, friend! You and I are in the same boat, and in fact, at the same current weight. I just had my husband take pictures of me in my sports bra and undies over the weekend because I needed that wakeup call.
I'm resetting myself this week with a fruit/veggie cleanse. Then I'm ready to learn how to eat sensibly and make this change for life.
Let's do this together, girl!

BTW... Ann Arbor is having their inaugural marathon on June 17. I'm planning to do the half. Are you in????

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LAURIE5658 1/17/2012 12:57PM

    Jen, I have been battling this since age 4, I swear. I may not look obese but I have been in my lifetime. Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom before we can start rising to the top once again.

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Need to figure out the eating thing again

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The past couple of days, I've done really well with my planned eating. I'm able to stay in bounds without too much trouble. It's what happens when I finish dinner that's the problem. I keep hitting the snack foods. Last night, I even said, "I'm full" out loud and meant it. (Lots of veggies and leftover chicken for dinner.) And then I ate an entire bag of 99% Fat Free microwave popcorn and chased it with a glass of sangria. Grr! I'm not hungry. I'm not bored. I'm just... graze-y. And food is there. Ugh. I suspect it was mainly a lack of salt driving the urge to eat. The only snack foods I considered were salty.

I think I need to start a new knitting project to keep my hands busy after dinner.

Anyway, today I'm faced with my third consecutive night of leftover chicken. I made a beer can chicken on Saturday and have been working my way through the leftovers since then. I have two more nights remaining, including tonight. But what to do with the chicken? Last night and the night before, I ate it plain and had vegetable leftovers on the side. Today, I feel like being a bit zestier. I'm just not sure what to do. I have this vague notion of chicken nachos, but I'm a bit stymied by a lack of traditional nacho ingredients. I have Garden Fresh salsa and chips. I have no nacho-ish cheese (I have sliced swiss and some fresh goat cheese), no tomatoes, no sour cream and no beans. I also have a cucumber and some salad greens (I think they're still good). Is it weird that I can see putting a cucumber on nachos? Not until after heating, of course. I mean, I get them on everything I order from Moe's, so why not?

I think I may have just talked myself into eating chicken and goat cheese nachos with cucumber and salsa. And when you put it that way, it sounds so much better than it did when it was just a bunch of random ingredients. Oh! And I just realized that I have a can of black beans! YAY! I think dinner is a go.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LITERARY_CHICK 7/27/2011 10:58AM

    Snacking is the downfall of many diet. Keep trying, I know you can do it.

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DRPOOH63 7/20/2011 10:49PM

    It is an interesting combination. So was it good?

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