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Food! Glorious (?) Food!

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Monday, July 02, 2012

[AUTHOR'S NOTE: Apologies in advance for an extremely blunt/maybe sarcastic tone. I am having a really off day today...and my office is under construction and we have no A/C. And it's 100 degrees out...that's not a clever exaggeration..it really is 100 degrees. i.e. CRANKY Leah.]

I've received quite a few questions and messages asking about my diet recently. I feel a bit of a resistance to blogging about food for a couple reasons:

1. Everyone's body is different, so what works for one person might not work for everyone and I don't want to lead people astray. I am no dietitian or expert.

2. What is working for me now might not work a month from now, in terms of weight loss.

3. I sometimes find food blogs boring. Haha.

I can only tell you that I was at a plateau for a long time and was finally able to break through it and appear to be losing weight slowly and steadily again. (26 lbs gone so far)

The first thing I did was average my calorie burn for a typical week and plug that into my SP Fitness Goals. This caused my food tracker to adjust my daily calorie numbers.

I make sure I meet my minimum calories in my SP food tracker every day. EVEN IF I'M NOT HUNGRY, I eat until I get over that lower threshhold...because I know my body needs the calories to fuel all the running I'm doing. I don't want to deal with my body going into "starvation mode".

How INFURIATING is it to have an extra 88 lbs of fat and have your body go into starvation mode and stall your weight loss because you're not eating ENOUGH?! I know some will scoff and say, "Must be nice to have that problem!" But, truth be told, it's sometimes rough to eat in the summer...104 degrees makes me feel yucky and I just want to sleep and lay in a bath full of cold water all day. Food sounds nasty sometimes.

Of course, I will not lie to you and say I don't have days where I go over my maximum calories. Sheesh. I'm human and I'm obese...do you think I got this way by eating healthy my whole life? There are still old habits to break.

This is, by no means, a special diet plan, but I will tell you what has worked for me lately. First, I watched "Food, Inc." which completely disgusted me and gave me a burning desire to try to eat more veggies and to look specifically toward organically-grown foods.

I joined a co-op grocery store. Started eating lunch from their salad bar/deli line every single day.

This alone helped me lose 5 lbs. And they aren't that expensive. Here's a major hint: WHOLE FOODS FILL YOU UP FASTER. You have to eat LESS of them to feel full. That means, it's not as expensive as you might think! Of course, you know I frequent the Farmer's Market in the summer...I try to go every Saturday.

I did kickstart my eating plan with South Beach Phase 1, which got rid of almost all of my simple carb and sugar cravings really quickly and also got me eating more veggies than I ever imagined possible.

I absolutely swear by the short, two week Phase 1 of South Beach. It will re-program your body to WANT healthy stuff! There's a Spark Team for it too...they are a great community to help you get through that really rough 2 weeks! And, friends...it is ROUGH. But once I'd kicked the sugar habit and processed food addiction, it got a LOT easier for me to make healthy choices.

Every week, I buy one of those HUGE tubs of spring mix from the grocery store...and whatever veggies I might want to put on my salads (latest craze is avocados or roasted chickpeas - protein!)

Onions are a great flavor booster for salads...if you can't handle them, try green onions (scallions). I eat a HUGE salad every single day...EVERY SINGLE DAY as the bulk of one of my meals (either lunch or dinner...sometimes both). Do I get tired of it? Yeah...sometimes, but what are you gonna do? Whine like a baby or just eat it? I know that sounds kind of mean...but I'm just done with excuses. I won't accept them from myself any longer. I hate being this way and, by golly, I'm changing it. Tough love for me.

I had to really break my addiction to Ranch dressing (I never ate ANYTHING other than ranch on a salad before South Beach). I now absolutely LOVE the taste of 1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and 1-2 tsp of regular white vinegar. That's all I need for my salads to be delicious these days.

I limit carbs, but I also recognize my body needs some of them to fuel my runs.

This ratio pretty much stays the same every day and, if I don't blow it by bingeing on Taco Hell, I can pretty much expect to see slow weight loss. This formula has been working for my body for a few weeks now, obviously in conjunction with running about 15-20 miles per week (no excuses):

Coffee with Creamer, Water, Protein, 1-2 servings of carbs (we're talking whole grains, fresh fruits and GOOD carbs here, folks...NOT donuts)

AM Snack: Protein (usually string cheese)

Protein, 2 or more servings of veggies. I try to go completely carb-less at lunch, but I won't go all crazy and freak if I eat bread on a sandwich either. I'm not strict or military about it...just consistent.

PM Snack: Protein

Protein, 1-3 servings of veggies, 1 serving carb (brown rice, potato, quinoa, something like that)

Where are the treats???? I just don't eat sweets. I just choose not to. And that's that.

Occasionally, I will have a cookie. Or one of those Betty Crocker Warm Delights (so bad and chemically...but man they are yummy and they cook in 30 secs in the micro and they are only 160 cals). I also like Jello, low fat pudding cups, yogurt. Still...don't have these too often...just once in awhile.

I am not blatantly against diet sodas...but I maybe drink one once every couple of weeks. Just because I watched "Weight of the Nation" and saw the illustrations with soda and it just grossed me out.

I drink 64 oz. (at least) of water every single day. I used to hate water. But now I just do it. Cuz I've gotta.

That's how my diet goes. I do what I've gotta do to get what I ultimately want. Even if it's not my fav.

Life is all about choices. I've had plenty of restaurant trips lately where I half-heartedly ordered what I knew to have the least calories JUST because it was good for me. I don't usually splurge when I eat out b/c if I did that, I'd be splurging every single week. I just plan ahead, order the fish or the salad without the fried stuff and without the ranch or whatever...and I just eat it. And I'm usually surprised at how much I actually love it.

Real food tastes good...but it's difficult to get it on the plate. I just always try to remember...FOOD IS FUEL. Make diet choices with your brain and not your feelings and you have won 90% of the battle.

Hope this helps!
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