Do you need a crutch or a gimmick to help get you started changing your eating habits? I think its ok and here are some crutches that I have used effectively in the past:
1. Diet bars. I have used these successfully as a 3:00 afternoon snack. Although I no longer need them, they were really helpful the first 2 weeks (probably to prop up protein, blood sugar, and the notion of being on a “plan”). I prefer bars under 180 calories, with good protein. The soy-based bars usually taste better than whey-based ones. Two brands I like are the Biggest Loser bars from Walgreens (sweetened with stevia) and the Nimble bars from Dollar Tree.
2. Drinks with Citrimax. When I lost 160 pounds, I drank a lot of SlimLite from Sam’s Club. As far as I know, it’s no longer made. So, I’ve substituted SoBe Lifewater which is available almost everywhere. Check the labels, however, to make sure your favorite flavor is zero calories and contains the Citrimax (if you want to suppress hunger). Strawberry Dragonfruit is my favorite. These drinks really do relieve the feeling of wanting to gnaw your own arm off. And they keep you hydrated. SoBe LifeWater is sweetened with stevia. Yes, I know the bottles are bad for the planet, but I do take all of them to recycling. I currently drink about one per day, usually in the afternoon.
3. Subway. In my last diet campaign, I figured “If it’s good for Jarrod, it’s good for me.” I wasn’t good a meal planning in those days and Subway made it simple. I ate lunch at Subway 6 days a week and sometimes dinner too. I stuck with the basics: wheat bread and turkey (or turkey and ham), and ALL the veggies. These days, I still like Subway but the sodium level bothers me more. I do sometimes get a veggie/avocado sub or a steak salad (sounds odd, tastes great). The chicken breast is also lower sodium and I avoid the pickles and yellow peppers.
4. Lean Cuisine. Pre-packed frozen meals are also easy: no planning, no measuring, and easy to track calories. I have leaned on them, at times. The problems are: they contain too much sodium for some of us and the vegetable servings are puny. My idea of a serving of vegetables is a cup or two. Their idea seems to be about a ¼ of a cup which sometimes gets absorbed(?) into the sauce, because the veggies are hard to see! I’ve found if I don’t get at least 2 cups of vegetables a day, I’m hungry. Of course, you can plan to cook extra vegetables with the meal and have some fruit for dessert…but then you’re back to meal planning again. But still, the variety is nice.
5. Snack bowls and single-serve bags. I’m not a big fan of the 100 calorie bags because they typically aren’t filled with premium quality food. I usually prefer to get a little less of a higher quality food. But they probably have their uses. What I do like are the snack bowls of applesauce and fruit. They allow me to have something different everyday without the rest of the jar or can going moldy. Same with small bags of chips. I don’t eat chips very often and I don’t want to commit to eating a big bag of chips. The birds outdoors don’t need any more stale potato chips! Yes, I know I could “baggie out” my own single chip servings but they stay fresher longer if the factory does it. Again, the snack bowls go to recycling; the small chip bags…oh well, not many of those anyway.
How about you? Do you have something that helped get you started or helps keep you going? Are diet crutches ok?
(Photo by Alles-Schlumpf on Flickr, licensed for sharing, see http://www.fotopedia.com/items