Saturday, April 07, 2012
I have learned an important lesson in all my years of yo-yo dieting. If I concentrate on restricting my food intake, I may enjoy short term success at the expense of meeting my long-term goals. I can only play the martyr for so long!
My focus is on what I can ADD to my lifestyle, not what I must cut out. If I add enough things (food and otherwise) that are positive, the negative habits (at least some of them) will be squeezed out of my life. An example: I'm trying to find whole grains whenever I can. Having done that, there is hardly the need to use white bread. And I have discovered some very satisfying flavors I would have never tried before.
When consuming a healthy diet, the number of calories is certainly an important consideration. The way I look at it, I have a "budget" of 1200 calories to spend. Just like a child learning to spend his or her allowance wisely, the calories are there for me to make similar choices. Will I spend 200 calories on a handful of jelly beans? Or will I choose instead to spend them on a half-sandwich made with whole grain bread, lean turkey, sprouts, cucumbers, tomato, lettuce, and a light brushing of mayonnaise or honey mustard? Which snack will leave me more satisfied? Hmmm...
My favorite tool at Sparkpeople is the nutrition planner. I do my best to plan my day BEFORE I actually eat. It's much easier to tweak the plan than it is to "un-eat" something! I shoot for six small meals each day averaging 200 calories each. But yesterday was a successful exception to the rule. I was fortunate enough to have 3 out of 4 family members sitting down for dinner at the same time. The highlight: Filet Mignon, my favorite. It's not something I have very often (maybe twice a year) because it's packed with 430 calories! But by snacking on lots of veggies throughout the day and serving steamed broccoli with the filet, I kept my calories in check for the day.
In anticipation, I made sure I spent an extra 15 minutes doing cardio. I looked forward to the filet and enjoyed it without guilt!
Now, am I perfect about using the tools? Of course not! A wise friend once told me that it's all about not progress, not perfection. And as long as I continue to use the tools (even if I overindulge or fail to plan ahead) I will continue to make progress.