By Beth Donovan (~INDYGIRL)
I always had viewed dieting as a punishment for being overweight. I don’t anymore. Dieting is a punishment to anyone who tries it because it is bound to fail eventually.
The nutrition part of losing weight for me this time has been more about what I do eat than what I don’t eat. I try to focus on eating healthy fruits, vegetables, grains, lean proteins, low fat organic dairy and healthy fats. By the time I get these foods in, I have less room for junk, so I always make sure to have something good for me before I indulge.
Discovering and adding healthy foods that you like into your diet can be fun and exciting. Even if you aren’t a cook, there are simple things to try that take only a few minutes to make that include very healthy fare. Here are some tips that have helped me lose more than 100 pounds using SparkPeople:
What healthy foods are staples in your house?
- Buy yourself or your family a fruit or vegetable tray. They are already made, taste great, and make you feel pampered. Personally, I used to feel they cost too much, but wouldn’t think twice about spending that same amount on something unhealthy like a fast food meal.
- Once a week, add one new healthy food into your basket at the grocery and have your family give it a try. One summer I challenged myself to try a new exotic fruit each week, and I found some--like mango, papaya, and passion fruit--that were so sweet and delicious that they were like dessert. Throw a healthy food party and have everyone bring a new healthy item from the store or that they made. It can be that simple.
There are some debates out there about what is healthy. Food closest to its natural state and unprocessed is deemed the healthiest by many, including myself. The term for this kind of diet, that would include fruits, veggies, grains, lean proteins and healthy fats is “clean eating.” While I cannot eat a totally clean diet, I do eat cleaner than I used to eat. This is a big step in lifestyle change. The middle ground, where I’m not stressing over being perfect and I’m not sabotaging my efforts, is a crucial part of my journey. My goal began to be eat better (healthier foods), not perfectly.
Now I shop for products with more whole grains, look for ways to add fruits and vegetables, and make sure I get enough lean protein and some unsaturated fat. You can cook them or prepare these foods how you like within reason (I mean, deep frying would be a bad idea). Tossing things in the oven with a spritz of olive oil is much healthier.
I learned to make healthier popcorn by popping it in a small amount of canola oil, then lightly spritzing with sunflower oil instead of butter. It still has a buttery flavor, but is heart healthy. You could go even further by air popping the corn. I also use spray oils on vegetables instead of butter. My slow cooker has become my go-to cooking method because I can cook vegetables, meats, and soups with minimal fat. Oven cooking is my second favorite method to prepare food, using a pan with a raised grid that allows fat to drip off. Then there is steaming. A good steamer can make crisp vegetables in a jiffy and fluffy grains perfectly.
It can even be fun to look up your favorite restaurants and create menu plans on the food tracker around days when you might want to enjoy a meal out. The trick is to fill up on healthy food before you go out if it is an unfriendly food environment. Why? Well, you will still eat some of your entrée, but you’ll have the strength to eat less of it and box the rest up for tomorrow.
The moral of the story? EAT! Eat healthier each day and add foods that keep you satisfied and fulfill your body’s needs. Eating within your body’s needs of healthy foods will keep you fuller longer and less likely to do as much damage when you stray.
Here is a list of some of my favorite snack, breakfast and lunch items to have in the kitchen:
- Fruit or veggie tray
- Natural peanut butter
- Spray olive oil
- Organic low-fat milk
- Whole-grain bread
- Whole-grain gereal
- Lean Cuisine entrees
- Healthy Choice entrees
- Smart One entrees
- Nature Valley granola bars
- Kashi products
*Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.