This month's topic is something that is near and dear to all of our hearts - food! Let's face it, none of us became overweight by eating celery...we liked to eat, and we liked to eat food that wasn't particularly healthy. The thing with dieting is that, unlike giving up other things that are bad for you, you still have to eat. You can give up caffeine, alcohol, and drugs, but you can't give up food. So what's a girl to do? After all, a girl's gotta eat!
I don't have any formulas that I go by for maintaining my weight - I know a lot of experts recommend the 80/20 rule (eat right 80% of the time and the 20% splurges will level everything out), but that feels a little too regimented for me, plus it's math, ick. Most of my meals are solo, so I end up eating the same thing for them...it's easy and quick, and I don't want to have to make a big fuss over a meal just for myself. But when I meet a friend for lunch or dinner, or Jeff happens to be in town and we go out, I eat what I want (and honestly, most of the time it'll end up being a salad...but a salad that someone ELSE made) without worrying about the calories. I'm also lucky in that Jeff is willing to split meals with me (he's trying to keep his weight down), so going out for a hamburger and fries on Friday night doesn't turn into a huge calorie splurge. I do have "rein it in" moments on occasion - times when I realize that I've been getting a little too loose with what I'm choosing to eat (a recent example would be realizing that I was eating way too much after our long runs on Saturday now that the mileage was cut in half...goodbye half of a cinnamon twist!), and that's when I make a conscious decision to try to cut back a little.
When I was actively dieting, I tracked my calories on a daily basis. I don't do that anymore (except for new things - I always check, as I don't want any unpleasant surprises!), but I decided to log everything for a few days to see where I was, in the interest of this post. My average calories (for days where I didn't eat out) were between 1,300 and 1,500 - here's the breakdown:
Breakfast - 350
Lunch - 250
Snack - 100 to 200ish
Dinner - 350 to 500
Snack - 84
I eat the same thing for breakfast almost every day. Fage 0% plain yogurt (you'd think with all the times I've mentioned them over the years I'd be getting paid, but no...I just love their brand the best), either fresh fruit (strawberries and nectarines are my favorites) or a quarter cup of Craisins, a liberal sprinkle of cinnamon, and half a cup of my homemade granola, or a low-calorie store-bought granola if I've been too
Typical breakfast - granola bought at Ikea during our crazytime of bath/bed rooms redo.
Lunch is tricky for me - I'm usually hungry, but not THAT hungry. Lately I've been making my homemade egg mcmuffin, which has been perfect for stopping the hunger without making me feel too full. Then a couple hours later I make a nonfat iced latte for a snack - the only calories come from the milk, but I make a big drink, so I'm probably getting 10 ounces of milk in it. I sip on that for an hour or so. Sometimes, if I'm craving something sweet, I'll have two Dove dark chocolate Promises with it (42 calories each).
Dinner, when I'm alone, is hard. I'm usually hungry but not starving. Sometimes I'll have my yogurt meal for dinner; sometimes a quick sandwich. I do have some fresh-frozen meals on hand from a local company that are "primal-paleo" - low calorie but decent, taste-wise and nutrition-wise, and sometimes I'll have one of those. If I'm hungry later in the evening, I'll have an apple...and a couple more of the Dove Promises.
You will notice that I'm not eating a lot of fruit and vegetables right now. I tend to go in spurts with that - when I'm making salads, I throw a bunch of veggies in them, and I like summer fruit the best, so strawberries have just started making an appearance in my kitchen with pineapple and watermelon to follow soon. When I have fresh fruit on hand, I'll eat quite a lot of it.
I'm not big into cooking or baking, which is probably helpful...at this point in my life, food isn't the be-all or end-all to me, and that's a good thing. I've had to let go of thinking that food is SO GOOD most of the time - if you look at my "before" pictures, you can see that I took that a little too far to the extreme, and I don't want to go there again. That's not to say that I don't enjoy food, and eating, because I do. But making it less important to me, mentally, has been really helpful in keeping my weight down. I still have my kryptonite foods - things that seem to set me off on either overeating them, or things that start a downward spiral. For example, milk chocolate. I love it, but having some seems to start an insatiable craving for more sugar that I have to fight like mad to control...and this can go on for several days. I don't like having to do that, so I really try to limit the times when I have milk chocolate. I don't experience this when I have dark chocolate - I can have a couple pieces of dark chocolate and be satisfied with that bit of sweetness and be done. I could analyze this to death, but the plain facts are that for me, this is real, so I do what I can to minimize the potential damage.
You might be reading this and thinking "blech - I could never eat the way she does" - and that's perfectly fine, because what works for me might not work for you. The important thing is that you do figure out what does work for you in order to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle. And then, of course, do it.
AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you'd like us to address!