I had always eaten whatever I wanted and not thought much about a specific diet...the furthest back that I can remember thinking about food and needing to have some self control was the summer I was going to get married. I bought my wedding dress and had to eat small portions in order to make sure I would fit into the dress. After that, I think I, again, ate whatever I wanted....After my 3 babies were born, though...things changed drastically!!!! I was gaining weight and the weight was sticking around! So for about seven years now, I have tried dozens of diets and ways of eating! It has been fun and interesting- a little variety in life! Ha! I have tried; vegan, vegetarian, atkins, military diet, sugar busters, 17 day diet, South Beach, counting calories, Oh my goodness; so many more I can't even remember! Add to that the exercise programs: Jillian Michaels, Insanity, Couch to 5k (the 5k never happened :)
So I would do all these different diets and never lost the 5 or 10 pounds that I was trying to lose. I had fun doing it (all except the military diet- that is the WORST! And counting calories- I hate counting calories- practicing math at each meal? No thank you! :-)
This new year I was ready in many ways to start being healthy. I had been eating my weight in candy and cookies over the holidays...I was ready! I saw some info my mom had on diabetic diets- a single sheet of paper was a huge inspiration- lists of what you can eat- lots of yummy fruit and veggies...I was inspired! But where to go from there? Do I do all organic? Eat only local? No carb? No sugar? Paleo? Do I count calories? Do I buy protein shakes? So many questions!
Somehow I stumbled on the perfect combination for me, for our budget, and for our busy family. And In one month I have lost 7 pounds- and it has been AWESOME and fun and yummy! Yay! (does this sound like an infomercial? Cuz I don't get paid for this :-)
Here's the list: (and by the way, obviously, this is what works for me...I have no idea if this would work for anyone else, and the very nature of this list is that is is customized for me and what I like)
I start every single day with oatmeal ((my cheats- plain quick oats that I can cook in the micro for 1 min, and I add brown sugar)) (a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down...I'm pretty sure that is the motto of my diet :)
I eat a ton of fruit and veggies every day ***I found what works for us, I go to Aldi- I can get so much more as far as produce and it is very good stuff....I just look through what they have and then really stock up on their special deals- when pineapple is .99cents, I get 3 of them..when small sweet peppers are $2 for a large bag, I stock up!...and I disregard all of the "experts" who say pineapple has too much sugar, etc. If it is a fruit or vegetable that I like, I EAT IT! I get so exhausted with all the conflicting info...don't eat beans, don't eat corn, don't eat carrots, don't eat potatoes...it's just too confusing! What usually happens to me is that I get discouraged and quit the diet and end up eating pizza! With this lifestyle of eating, I am pumping my body full of salad and sweet potato and tomatoes and banana smoothies and carrot sticks and nuts and fruit and oatmeal and chicken and fish and beans and hummus and guacamole!
I do what it takes (in moderation) to help the veggies go down...lets be honest, it's just not going to work long term to make my own organic salad dressing every day. I know how bad salad dressing is for you, I know it is probably all sugar and perservatives, and sometimes I can look for a healthy alternative...but on the average day, I have at least one huge salad (usually 2) with a little dressing. See- this is my cheat! Salad dressing!
Another best friend to me right now is olive oil (EVOO). Thinly sliced sweet potato with olive oil, salt, pepper, and either garlic or onion baked on a cookie sheet in the oven til golden - YUM! Chopped broccoli made the same way (except under broiler) - awesomely flavorful and crispy.
Now, this is a BIG one...and one thing that I think has allowed me to lose weight..it was a little hard at first, but I am used to it now and it feels GOOD...are you ready??? No eating after 7pm. That's all I'll say about that :)
A few delicious treats:
banana + PB smoothie- oh wow! I have found that eating this way has been great for my sweet tooth- I have not had but a few bites of dessert for a month (which is amazing for me!!!) ...but if I want a dessert- this is it! Banana, natural PB, milk, ice cubes, a few chocolate chips, a small handfull old-fashioned oats....blend= happiness!
Another treat....dry old fashioned oats mixed with natural PB and a few chocolate chips...I've seen these shaped into balls, but I just make a little bowl of it and eat it! Great afternoon energy snack.
I've used quite a few of these recipes from my healthy food pin board.
My rule is that there can't be too many rules! :) Here's a recap....
1) start the day with oatmeal
2) eat a ton of fruits/veggies (find a cheap way to do this- ALDI!)
3) Something I forgot to mention: Make a plan- have enough healthy food in the house or you will be in trouble! I only go to Aldi once a week...so the first 2-3 days after I get the groceries, we have lots of fresh produce...but by the end of the week, I still have plenty because apples will stay fresh, bananas, lettuce, carrot, potato, that stuff all can keep fresh for the week....if I run out of fresh, I have beans, frozen fruit in the freezer for smoothies, I still have nuts and lots of hummus (aldi! $1.99!)
4) no eating after 7pm
I have not eaten much bread at all...or cheese....or pasta....or rice. this is surprisingly easy when you have enough other stuff on hand. For example: the other day I served my family spaghetti with meatballs, salad, and bread for supper. I ate 2 meatballs, no pasta or bread, and a HUGE salad.....I felt full, they were happy...win-win. (on average, tho, we are not eating much red meat...mostly fish and chicken)
Oh my goodness! I rambled on and on! I guess I am just really happy that I have been able to keep this up for a month. That is something to celebrate, and it is something that I really love doing. I have been eating so good- the colors and textures and tastes of my food has never been better. Plain and simple with some tiny cheats to keep it do-able (brown sugar in my oatmeal and salad dressing being my biggies)
I hope that you too will find a healthy way to stick to a good eating plan if you don't already have a way. I think the benefits are huge. I have no food guilt any more. (for this past month, anyway :-) ) I feel great- lots of energy! And it has helped strengthen my self control. And you know what they say; if you strengthen your self control in one area of life, that helps you in other areas where you struggle! I have seen this happen! I have been doing better with the Internet....not as much mindless surfing (of course, I usually do better at the start of a new year and slowly go downhill from there, but we will keep optimistic that this will stick! :))
I would love to hear about your eating habits and what has worked for you!