I gotta admit, one of the things that was most vital for me was giving up the very idea that junk food is necessary in my life. Once I decided that I could and would live without it indefinitely if I needed to, that's when I made changes that stuck. This isn't to say I never touch anything junky, but it is not allowed to determine my life or my schedule anymore, or dominate my thoughts. It's a rare thing, and in moderation even at those times, and that's how I like it. Nothing about it is good enough it should keep me from living the way I want to live. It was enormously freeing.
I'm not saying you have to be like me to meet your goals, but I think it is important to consider what you really want (more in terms of day to day life than anything long term), and try to think realistically about what actions in your life will help you reach those goals, which are neutral, and which will only make things harder. If you can look at that really clearly, I think the path forward becomes more obvious. Best of luck.
When we embarked on our LC and "real foods" lifestyle (by prescription), I admit it was a challenge. I'm a carb addict, love the stuff.
But as I came closer to the real foods, processed foods started to simply not seem like "food" to me anymore. I don't really want them now. They just taste "off". I taste the chemicals in them now. Fresh whole foods are the only things I really want. Honestly, the big billboard ads for fast foods, even some restaurant foods, just turn my stomach these days.
I suspect, if you make the switch, your tastes may change too.
...the problem with people these days is they've forgotten we're really just animals ... (attributation forgotten)
We did not create the web of life; we are but a strand in it. ~attributed to Chief Seattle
We don't have souls. We ARE souls. We have bodies. ~C.S. Lewis
current weight: 231.0
Fitness Minutes: (23,497)
837 5/23/14 4:57 A
When I started to get serious about losing weight, I made the decision that I was not going to do anything as a "diet" that I was not going to incorporate into the rest of my life. There is no way that I am going to go for the next 30 years without eating ice cream, or a burrito, so I decided that I had to figure out portion control, and how to eat in moderation.
For me this means that instead of a bowl of ice cream, I have a bowl of berries with a small scoop of ice cream on top, and instead of eating a giant burrito, I wrap half of it up before I even start the meal, or I split it with a friend. I am never going to eat perfectly healthily, and I really don't want to. I would rather lose more slowly and be able to sustain this forever than lose quickly and feel deprived.
And I track everything. I know that a lot of people complain about tracking and wonder if they will ever be able to go without doing it. I kind of like it. I view it as "me time" and it allows me to make good, conscious decisions about what I am eating.
Finally, I know that weight loss is 80% what you eat and 20% working out, but for me at least, once I started working out on a regular basis, the changes in my body became much more apparent, which was a big motivator to continue to eat healthily.
If you have formed the habit of checking on every new diet that comes along, you will find that, mercifully, they all blur together, leaving you with only one definite piece of information: french-fried potatoes are out. ~~Jean Kerr
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~~Anais Nin
Life is too short for self-hatred and celery sticks. ~~Marilyn Wann
Pounds lost: 39.0
Fitness Minutes: (5,730)
2,259 5/23/14 12:28 A
@ICEDEMETER I agree with TEXASWILLIE that was a perfect answer. Whenever I would go on weight loss tumblr/ blogs, people are so caught up in terms and I hate that! I would hate to live my life in a bubble because of my diet. I like the way you said that whatever you eat is permanent because it reinforces the idea of lifestyle rather than diet. Thanks again for your response! It really helped!
When I started looking at changing what I was eating, I started with the assumption that all changes would be permanent, so I had better enjoy them! I didn't focus on what I "couldn't have" (there is nothing on that list!), but on what I could add that I would really like. I also decided that I wasn't in too much of a hurry to lose weight, so I worked out what my calorie range would be to maintain at my "goal weight", and never dropped below that. My reasoning was that I need to eat at that level for the rest of my life, so I might as well start out there and learn how to be happy with that. I did end up eating at the lower end of that range during much of my weight loss, and now have to eat right at the top end in order to maintain.
I decided that I wanted to get really good nutritional "bang for the buck", but that I wasn't going to get my knickers in a spin about what was "clean", what was "junk", or what was the "healthiest" --- I set up my tracker to include some micro-nutrients that are important to me (iron, calcium, folate, sodium, potassium, and fibre) and set out to find foods to add that would get me these nutrients in ways that I loved.
Rather than making over my old favourite recipes to be healthier, I just ended up having them very rarely, and taking smaller portions when I do have them. Having them rarely wasn't even a conscious choice - it just ended up that way because my taste buds changed and I now have new favourites that I enjoy more!
I paid attention to my body cues, and found that I need two things to be satiated: volume, and a punch of strong flavour. The volume was easy for me, since I love a bunch of different veggies, so I include 2 or 3 cups of veggies with most meals. For the flavour, I play with spices, flavoured vinegars, flavoured oils, and sauces --- I don't need a lot, and just a Tbsp or two of a good, strong flavour works just fine. My body also works best when I eat a lot of smaller meals, so I plan for eating 6 to 8 times each day, with the calories balanced out to match my hunger levels.
I also pay a lot more attention to the monthly averages than I ever do to a single day or week. I have found that an occasional over-the-top day (because I was more hungry, or I chose to eat out and have both wine and dessert, or whatever) has always been balanced out by the occasional day that I just wasn't that hungry and so ended up at or below the bottom of my range.
I have found that I am a creature of habit to a large extent, and that I am happiest when I have routines, especially with my snacks. My afternoon snack is always a cup of tea and a bowl of yogurt (plain full-fat yogurt, mixed with berries or nuts or cocoa or maple sugar or whatever I'm in the mood for, to make it taste like a total indulgence), and in the evenings I always share a massive bowl of air-popped popcorn (with salt and a Tbsp of butter) with my partner. I finish every day with a hot cocoa (skim milk, cocoa powder, and a tsp of maple sugar) and a square of high end dark chocolate.
My greatest tools have been the tracker and my kitchen scale. It is entirely likely that I'll be relying on these for the rest of my life. These are what has made it possible for me to determine what are reasonable portion sizes for me and to make sure that I get the nutrients that are important to me. I plan out each day in the tracker the night before, but don't worry about making changes on the fly if I should be in the mood for something else, or something comes up to change my schedule. Having the basic plan in there lets me know just how much room I have to play with on the calories or what I need to make sure that I include to get the nutrients. I spend less than 15 minutes each day (most days less than 5) doing this, and it is well worth it to me.
If you take some time to figure out how your body works best (smaller, more frequent meals or larger, less frequent ones), what your main satiety cues are (volume, flavour, protein, or fat), and whether you are happiest with a set routine or taking things on the fly, then it will give you a great baseline to start planning from. Once you've started finding new favourite meals that fit in to your calorie and nutritional needs, then you will find that it is actually easier to eat the "new" way than it is to go back to the "old".
Remember that the most important thing is to figure out what works best for *you*, and what will make *you* the happiest --- good luck, and have fun!
Thanks for your responses! @Nirerin I will definitely try that. @BRAKAI02 My only thing with reserving one day as a cheat day is that I might go crazy waiting for that one day. I definitely appreciate your insight @DIETITIANBECKY It makes sense. I agree that I don't want to get caught up on terms because then I'll always feel like I failed or something.
I encourage that you focus on "your plan", rather than terms such as eating clean or a cheat meal. These terms make it sound like you are either being "good or bad".
Sounds like you want "your plan" to include about 90-95% of the foods to be tasty foods that provide nutrients to keep your body healthy; and about 5-10% of the tasty foods that may not be as nutrient-dense. Thus you are sticking to your plan all the time. You planned for all types of foods to fit. There is no need to feel like you cheated or did a disservice to your body.
check out as many clean eating cookbooks as you can from your local library. you should also be able to google "clean eating x" and find a ton of recipes based on x being whatever ingredient you want to use. beyond that, take your favorite recipes and try making them one step closer to clean or just better for you. so if you have a recipe that calls for instant rice, cream of soup, cheez whiz, broccoli, cauliflower, onion, and butter, reducing the amount of butter could be a very easy way to cut calories without even noticing it in the recipe. you could also double the vegetables in the recipe or use quinoa or a heartier rice blend. you could use a smaller amount of grated cheddar in place of cheez whiz. but you don't do all these things at once. you cut out a half stick of the butter and make it that way four or five times. then you might cut out another half stick of butter. again, make the dish four or five times. add an extra cup of vegetables and make it that way four or five times. then add another cup of vegetables and make it that way four or five times. by this point you're making it with a stick less butter and two cups more vegetables. then swap out the cheez for cheese and a smaller amount. keep tweaking the recipes that you love so that they are becoming more in line with where you want to be eating. it's not a first to the finish line process. it's something that might take a year to get a certain recipe to where you want it to be. it's a slow and gradual easing of your habits to a place where you want to be.
-google first. ask questions later.
Fitness Minutes: (6,748)
5/22/14 7:27 A
A lot of diet programs will allow you to have 1 cheat day. I have tried this but, you have to do it in moderation. Maybe incorporate 1 or 2 small things that you have been craving all week. I try to do my cheat day on the weekend as that is when we tend to eat out or I am mostly tempted.
Pounds lost: 6.6
Fitness Minutes: (702)
20 5/21/14 10:32 P
My question is how did you guys make what you ate a lifestyle change? One of my biggest problems with weight loss is because I can't get my eating habits in line. I want to eat clean but I also want to enjoy junk food every once in awhile. I'm trying to find a balance that way I eat healthy foods that taste good and also enjoy the occasion "cheat meal". Also, if anyone has any tips for making simple but tasty clean recipes, I would appreciate it. Thanks!
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