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Food Rehab: Planning What You Eat

Friday, June 28, 2013

Before I started my weight loss plan on November 16th, this is what an average day looked like for me:

6:50am Alarm. Hit Snooze.

6:59am Alarm. Blearily wake up.

7:07am "Eh, there is nothing to eat in the fridge. I'll just go out for lunch."

7:10am Bowl of cereal with milk. (If I am not too sick to my stomach to eat)

7:17am Make my own ice sugar-free vanilla latte with skim milk.

10:30am "Oh, I am soooooo hungry! I don't have any decent snacks! Ugh! Well, at least someone brought in donuts."

11:30am Go out to eat. Maybe I'll be "good" and eat something "healthy" at Einstein Brothers or Panera Bread, or maybe I'll go to Bugatti's or Red Robin and get something I'll regret.

12:15pm Swing by the coffee house on the way back to work. Order a vanilla latte - "oops, forgot to ask for sugar-free and skim milk! Oh, well!" Need a sweet for the midday - "I'll have a raspberry crisp bar, that's WAY healthier than a scone!"

12:30pm Eat the crisp bar that is supposed to be my snack

1:00 - 3:30pm Zonked out tired.

4:00pm Eat the Red Vines that someone brought in a couple of days ago. Go back and have a few more.

5:00pm "Nothing to eat for dinner - here we come Dairy Queen!"

5:45pm "Gotta have a snack to top it off."

6:00 - 9:00pm Mindless munching

11:30pm Bedtime

The thing that should be most clear from the above is how I never knew what I was going to eat and ended up choosing something that was of dubious nutritional value.

Now, my day is like this:

6:55am Wake up. No snooze.

7:20am Breakfast with 24oz of water.

10:30am Brunch snack. At least 18oz of water before this.

12:30 - 1:00pm Lunch. Another 18oz of water. An iced or hot Americano here.

3:30pm Snack. Another 18oz of water - or two!!

6:00pm Dinner. This could be as simple as a can of tuna and some veggies or as complicated as stir-fry. Or, if I am traveling, I'll head to a restaurant and order a salad.

8:30pm Dessert. (This is usually when I have one of my sweet treat meal replacements - ice cream or a brownie/cookie. YUM)

A lot of the problem, I think, is that we don't plan out our meals very well. At least, I didn't. I never exactly knew when I was eating or what I was eating. I just was floating along, letting whatever food drive what I ate. And when you are surrounded by donuts, fast food joints, and calorie-laden drinks, it means that food will end up on your body.

Eating on a Planned Timescale has been a HUGE help to me. It regulates my eating. It tells me when I am hungry and when I am probably not (if I don't get my water in, I will most certainly be hungry well before it's time to eat!). It also keeps me energetic, so I don't feel that 1-3pm slump.

Eating Planned Portions has done me a world of good. I'm currently eating meal replacements, so they already come "pre-portioned" in nice 100 calorie sizes. It's fast and easy; a quick bite to keep me going. Even for my main meal, the Lean and Green that I'm allowed, I make sure to keep an eye on my portion size. Sometimes that means measuring things out; sometimes I just really watch how much I put on. I just don't mindlessly dump dressing anymore.

But those two wouldn't do well if I weren't also eating Satisfying Foods. On Weight Watchers, you can pretty much eat whatever you want as long as it's within your daily points. So if you want to spend all your points on Oreos, technically you can. But the problem is that Oreos are NOT satisfying! Eating two doesn't give me the, "Ah, that was good!" feeling. It's the "Hmmm, that's it? Better have another!" feeling.

The foods I eat on program are satisfying. I eat them and feel content. I don't still feel empty after eating them and have to go back for more. I eat my snack, I eat my meal, and I'm "ahhh, that was good!"

But life eating just the "good foods" isn't fun. Which is why it is nice to augment your meals with Favorite Foods. Now, I can't eat many on my plan right now, but I reserve my dessert for something like the meal replacement ice cream or brownie or cookie. It gives me that sweetness I like to end my day on. I'll also indulge occasionally in a bit of Cool Whip, some good Ranch dressing or put my meal replacement mocha shake in my Americano to make it extra yummy.

Unknowingly, I've been following a lot of Kessler's advice. But what about Maintenance? What then?

Well, I have the tools already set in place. I know that I need to eat regularly - not wait huge amounts of time between breakfast-lunch-dinner. I also know that I need to watch my portion sizes. A snack shouldn't be hundreds upon hundreds of calories. A dinner shouldn't take up several plates and half a table. And then I need to choose foods that will make me full and content - but also leave some wiggle room for the foods I love.

I've been following my plan for 7 months and have been doing great. I have no doubt that when I am off the meal replacements, I will be able to take these skills into my Healthy Life in Maintenance.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Sounds great and thank you for sharing your before and after (behavior) And emoticon emoticon
    1814 days ago
    Sounds like You've found what works for You!
    That's emoticon !
    Continued SUCCESS!
    1816 days ago
    If you follow Spark and have self discipline and motivation you can do it.

    You have to find your own plan and stick with it. Reading too many books or plans wastes time and adds confusion. Make YOUR PLAN and follow it for three weeks or three months. Like I said it takes planning and SELF motivation. NO EXCUSES-=It's the road to better health.
    Pat in Maine. Down 50 pounds and healthier than ever at 69 years young. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1816 days ago
    Thanks for bringing up this topic. I've just ordered this, and other books from the library and will be doing lots of reading over the summer.
    1816 days ago
    TSFL has really helped me with that too. Now that I am used to planning my lean and greens, I wonder why I found meal planning so overwhelming before!

    Even when I am putting together my monthly order, I think through: what do I want to have for breakfasts, lunches, morning and afternoon snacks and desserts? Maintenance is, I would imagine very much the same except that you do the planning at home and the buying at the grocery store. You still have to think through...what do I want for breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks? Then, you have to prepare the foods and eat them at the right times.

    I look forward to gradually weaning onto that type of meal planning.
    1817 days ago
    Sounds like you are and have been learning a lot about yourself and what your body needs. That's great!!
    1817 days ago
    One thing that has been working for me really well has been finding healthy foods that I really enjoy. I used to enjoy raw broccoli with dressing but gave it up completely....gained a ton of weight and now that I'm working on losing the weight, I started eating it again!

    It's been great to incorporate in my diet because it feels like a food I will continue to enjoy having as a snack when I enter the maintenance phase. I totally recommend trying to find things like that where you really want to eat it! It will help your healthy eating to feel more sustainable when you phase out the meal replacements.
    1817 days ago
    I had to chuckle at your before weight loss eating habits!!! It made me think of a time, when I worked 2 jobs, and I would eat everything in sight. This is what happened one day:

    I had breakfast - cereal and skim milk
    Lunch - out with my co-workers and went to a buffet and I ate all I could eat
    Dinner - at other job, barbecue chicken, leg and thigh
    Now comes the really nasty part. I couldn't decide what I wanted to eat. I was getting off of work at about 11 PM. I went to McDonalds drive thru, I got a large fries, large coke, and a quarter pounder with cheese. That didn't satisfy me, and the next thing I came to was a Burger King and I got a large fries, large coke, and a quarter pound whopper. I still wasn't satisfied and when I got into my town, I did the drive thru at Del Taco, where I got 4 steak and cheese burritos. Well, I finally made it home, called the pizza place and order a large pizza with the works and a six pack of coke. I ate the whole thing and drank all the coke. I still wasn't satisfied, and raided the refrigerator and ate everything in there. I finally gave up trying to satisfy my craving (for what I don't know) and went to bed. This was all in one day!!! That's how I use to eat!!! Now that's a crying shame. I look back on it now and laugh at myself, and realize that there was no excuse for what I did. Thank God, I know better now!!!

    Be blessed,

    - Nancy Jean -
    1817 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/28/2013 2:45:56 PM
    I agree with your sentiments on eating regularly throughout the day. I also eat 5-6 meals a day and once a week I include a no-no food if I feel the need so that I dont end up busting the banks of desperation and eat everything in sight.
    It gets easier the more healthy food is inside us to wean ourselves of junk. Once we have fruit, we start needing sweet treats less etc.
    Good for you finding a balance that works for you. Thats what its all about, each of us has our own rhythm and needs. Once you find your stride, the race is yours. Well done.
    1817 days ago
    This is a great blog and really hits home. I'd like to hear more about what you consider to be satisfying foods.
    1817 days ago
    You could also start slowly weaning yourself off of meal replacements, so that you start learning now how to plan your meals. Not that meal replacements are bad persay, but since they're not something you intend to continue to eat for the rest of your life it might be wise to start adding in a few real meals- especially now that you have lost a decent amount of weight. Even if its just 1 real home cooked meal a week which can be done for one person quite easily especially if you cook in bulk. Then, you could almost make your own meal replacements. Say a batch of home made soup. If you make enough and freeze it in small containers you could effectively have enough for a couple of meals per week for a month. Then, you're also weaning yourself off of the artificial stuff that's always in the pre packaged items.
    1817 days ago
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