Thursday, August 12, 2010


Though I've lost weight in the past — actually, a lot of weight the last time I vowed to get back into shape — this time I've made a point to change WHAT I'm eating.

Before, I frequently dined on packaged meals and processed foods. I was a Lean Cuisine/Weight Watchers meal junkie and would often have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I loved them because I didn't have to cook, the portions were set and I knew exactly how many calories I was getting. Meantime, I also enjoyed eating low-fat hot dogs, slices of fat free processed meats and canned soups. I did eat fruits and vegetables and managed to stay within my WW Points limit, but my main stapes were ready-made meals.

These days, however, I'm trying to eat much more unprocessed "real" food. Don't get me wrong — I still have the occasional hot dog and add Splenda to my coffee. And I love M&Ms. But the frequency in which I eat these things is a lot less. I now love snacking on fresh fruits and vegetables and eat actual lean meat and chicken, not the sodium-filled, pre-sliced kind. I've also cut back on bread and pasta (though I like having some kind of bread for breakfast) and am trying to eat plain foods without a lot of sauce and gravy. Water has become a big part of my menu, as well. During my time off, I drank a lot of Gatorade because I was told that it's important to keep your electrolites steady when you're recovering from an injury. Now that I'm walking, though, I'm trying to stay away from sugary drinks and just stick with water.

What's interesting is that I'm craving sweets and carbs a lot less. I was a carb addict, but these days, I'm happy with just a little rice or one slice of bread. Last night, I had roasted chicken with a side of rice and beans, but after eating the chicken and salad, I only had a few bites of rice and was satisfied. After that, I didn't even feel like having dessert, even though we had frozen fruit pops in the freezer.

This is the thing, though — for me, no food is off limits. There are foods that are, of course, healthier, but I don't regard any as "good" or "bad." I can have a few treats as I did at the party the other day, but that doesn't mean that I "cheated" or have to beat myself up over it. It just means that I watch my portions and then return to eating clean meals. In the past, I'd feel so guilty if I had chocolate during a "diet," or would deprive myself to the point where I ended up binging on an item. Now I'm attempting to be more mindful of my food and enjoy it, but not use it as a way to stuff my emotions. I haven't entirely gotten past this issue, but I'm getting there and that's what is important.

I've been on diets where I've lost weight more quickly than I am now, but so far, this most recent lifestyle change has allowed me to find a decent balance. I still go out to eat and love trying new foods, but I don't overindulge. Nor am I starving myself. For example, I'm meeting Scott for Moroccan food tonight and have already decided what I'm having: gazpacho, hummus and chicken skewers with mixed greens. That's a full meal, complete with plenty of healthy ingredients. I know that I'll have a great time eating, but the main reason for going out is to spend quality time with a dear friend. The food is secondary.

I'm pretty confident that I can keep this up for the rest of my life. I don't want to give up the foods I love, but I don't want to give up my life for food, either, which is what I've been doing for the past few years. It IS possible to have a healthy relationship with food and a healthy life. I wish I'd figured this out sooner.

1 comment:

  1. I love your attitude about taking the labels off of the kinds of food you eat. I had this huge realization myself. MINDFULNESS is BEAUTIFUL and sets us free! :)