di·et - noun - a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one's weight. (webster)
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word "diet"? Restrictions, bland food, can't eat this, can't eat that, deprivation, starvation, boring? Any of these ring a bell? I hate the word diet, period. I've done everything from starvation dieting to Jenny Craig and had results but didn't follow through or succeed. In fact, I gained what I had lost while on it and ballooned beyond what I was before I started. So if not the word "diet" then what do we call it?
I use mindful eating and lifestyle change to describe what I do. Mindful eating takes brain power and some focus. It's about becoming aware and conscience/mindful about what you put into your body, how you eat, and what is IN what you eat. A plan which I find to follow this way of eating is Weight Watchers. I'll admit that I have used Weight Watchers and lost 35lbs while on it, however, I never stuck with it enough to lose all of the weight. Some of what I do now I have learned from doing W.W. but haven't been on the program for years.
I find it easier to be mindful when you are cooking at home because you can think about what you are making and have total control over how you prepare and cook your meals. It does, however, become more difficult when you eat out to be mindful, but it is possible. You just have to put you mind to it. Easier said than done, right? To start becoming mindful, you first have to start practicing becoming mindful, and the easiest place to do that is in your own home under your total control.
Cooking at home is hard for most people, but you can plan out your meals ahead of time and make it work. It's a good idea to have a core meal plan that you stick to that is consistent. I get asked a lot what I eat, so I am going to break down my core meals which I stick to for most of the week.
I start on Sunday by going grocery shopping for what I am going to eat throughout the week. I buy my fresh veggies and shop the perimeter of the store. The perimeter of a grocery story contains the least processed and most nutritional foods for you, so if you stick to the perimeter you can't go wrong! Then I come home and prepare my food for the week. I chop up my veggies and store them in Tupperware containers in the fridge for easy, quick access. Makes it easier for food on the go.
Almost every meal I eat has a serving of protein, a whole grain/carb, and at least 1 fruit and/or vegetable. I try to eat all of my colors of the rainbow from day to day. I don't count calories religiously, but I do make sure I eat nutritionally. I could count my calories and have 3 Big Mac's in a day and still meet the daily requirement, but 3 Big Mac's don't give me the nutrition that my body craves on a day to day basis. Here is what a normal day for my eating is: (note: I am using the times as a guide, I don't actually time to the minute when I eat)
9:00am - Breakfast = 1 serving of the following:
Honey Nut Cheerios or Raisin Bran (my carb)
Organic 2% milk (my protein)
1/2 cup of blueberries (my fruit/rainbow food)
1/2 cup of strawberries (my other fruit/rainbow food)
11:00am - Snack
1 Greek Yogurt
1 Granola Bar (without the HFCS and hydrogenated oils)
1/2 of a Banana
1:00pm - Lunch
Veggie Wrap which consists of cucumbers, zucchini, yellow, red, green and orange slices of bell peppers, dark greens, 1 wedge of Laughing Cow Cheese, honey mustard, whole grain wrap.
Sometimes I swap this with dinner or I have my PBnJ.
3:00pm - Snack
Mixed fruit: Melon, pineapple, orange, grapes, or anything else you want to eat that is a fruit! I sometimes add almond slivers to this to give it a crunch.
5:00pm - Dinner
1 salmon filet, about 4 oz.
1/2 cup of brown rice
1 cup of mixed veggies
I usually have two pans, one for the fish, and the other for stir fry/side dish.
I cook with 1tbsp of extra virgin olive oil or sometimes safflower oil.
I flavor with 2tbsp of low sodium teriyaki sauce, or sometimes I take a serving of my favorite jar of sauce (low sodium and fat/calories of course) and use that. Stir fry is awesome because you can sneak in all sorts of healthy nutrition. I usually add garlic and ginger to my stir fry. It makes the flavors pop and it tastes amazing. If you aren't into fish, you can use chicken!
7:00pm - Snack
1/4 cup of Mixed nuts: UN SALTED, NO SUGAR ADDED, NO CRAP ADDED!
8:00pm - Optional Snack
Celery and baby carrots with 1 serving (2 tablespoons) of dressing
Do not eat after 9PM. You can play with this 100%. You can have salads, and pizza and whatever you want. Just make sure you're being mindful and are realizing what you are eating. Pizza is a dangerous meal because people tend to over eat with pizza. Think of some ways to make Pizza more healthy. Maybe add some veggie toppings and see if you can get whole wheat dough. Most pizza places offer that now.
You may also think this is a ton of food, and you are right. But if you read my last blog post, it's about eating throughout the day and eating more. You WILL be satisfied for the whole day if you follow something like what I have above. I have tons of recipes and cool cooking ideas that I'll share over the course of the next few weeks. If you are motivated to do it, you will! Keep mindful and enjoy what you are eating. Being healthy and mindful doesn't mean your food has to taste like ass, you just need to know what to do to it to make it healthy and taste incredible at the same time.