Monday, April 1, 2013

AIM: A Girl's Gotta Eat!


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 lazy busy to make mine.  YUM.  It's filling and has the right mix of protein and carbs to hold me until lunch.
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!

23 comments:

  1. You're my first blog to read in April, Shelley, but I'll be on to your team members' thoughts as well. It's really helpful to see what people who have been successful and in this for the long haul eat and how they handle the unexpected. At this time, my kryptonite foods are too numerous to count, but as I address my Type 2, it' amazing how much less I crave them or even think about them.

    Anyway, it's always enlightening to read your AIM posts, and of course your others too. You've reawakened my inner knitter and I went out Saturday and bought a shit load of yarn to make some baby blankets! Sit and knit diet rocks!

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    1. That's the thing about kryptonite foods - I don't think I'll ever get over their pull when I have them, but for me, the longer I go without eating them, the less desire I have for them, too.

      Hurry for new yarn and the Sit and Knit diet! Can't wait to see what you make. :)

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  2. so interesting as you and cammy both have a lot of repetition (as do I) and as I say over at TIPPY TOE all the studies lately say that repetition tremendously helps with maintaining...

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    1. I remember Dr. Oz recommending having a few "go-to" meals to keep your eating simple, and obviously I took that to heart!

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  3. Nice recap, Shelley! We eat very similarly. Could we be twins? :)

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    1. I thought the same thing when I read your post! Although we'd be Mutt and Jeff twins, with our height difference... :)

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  4. Great topic today, Shelley. I really love this line: "But making it less important to me, mentally, has been really helpful in keeping my weight down." I think many people have this issue of mentally allowing food to take over. I know I do and it is such a struggle to keep a mental check on my obsession. The idea of making food less important mentally is a great stepping stone for me. Thanks. :)

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    1. Thanks, Winnie - it's been a process, letting go of making food take center-stage in my life.

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  5. Fage is the BEST!!--they should definitely sponsor us!

    The biggest difference between us is that you have succeeded in making food less important mentally to you. I am going to have to think about that and work on it a bit.

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    1. Fage sponsors Bobby Flay - aren't we on the same level? LOLOLOL!

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  6. I think you do great Shelley - I think it would be hard being by yourself all the time because who is going to see you eat!

    Favorite part of this post - I am with you on this sista!

    "plus it's math, ick" And sorry, I will always be a Chobani girl!

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    1. Honestly, I did so much sneak eating in my overweight days that it's not a big deal anymore to be alone with my food options.

      Chobani - I will say I've been wanting to try their new chocolate/coconut yogurt, but plain Fage will always be my go-to for Greek yogurt!

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  7. routines are great when trying to either maintain weight or lose it...I eat pretty much the same things throughout the week...vegan-ish...

    http://runningsurvivor.blogspot.com

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  8. You mentioned my least favorite thing - math - and my favorite thing - chocolate - all in one post. Bravo!!

    Do you find more freedom of choice when eating alone? I do in that I graze more than I sit down and eat a meal. What was probably the biggest thing for me since getting divorced was making it OK to cook for just me. That's why god invented Rubbermaid and freezers!

    I've been all about our store brand Greek yogurt lately, and Dannon Greek 100 calorie thingys. I still have to make your hippie granola! Dang....I have the recipe in my recipe holder on my counter, too. Must buy the ingredients this week.

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  9. I only read a small portion of this, but what I did read was very informative!! Thank you for writing it. I can not wait to get home to finish. I am not yet maintaining I still have a little under 100 pounds to go! Yikes. Please follow me on my journey as well http://www.sexyheffer.com and also on facebook http://www.facebook.com/sexyheffer

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  10. It always encourages me to read blogs who go the simple route and don't particularly enjoy being creative in the kitchen or spending hours developing new and different things to eat. I knew that Cammy and I were all about keeping it simple and rather boring, but now I know that about you as well. I just always appreciate reinforcement that the approach is OK. It certainly works better for me.

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  11. I am lucky that John is willing to split entrees with me as well. Sometimes I don't want to eat the dish twice, know what I mean (meal and leftovers)? He will also let me have a few bites of his dessert if I want a taste, but don't want a whole one.

    I share more now than I used to. It used to me "this is MY food, all mine!" Now I have learned that I don't need the whole thing and it is okay to share with others. :D


    And the latte is the perfect snack food. Just perfect!

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  12. You've made some really great points that I need to think about. I've lost weight several times but have always had trouble with the maintenance part because I tend to slide back into old habits and thinking. I think I'm going to have to come up with some tried and true 'go to' meals myself, because otherwise I find munching on whatever I find in my pantry.

    BTW, thanks for the comment on my blog. I've visited yours before, but I guess I haven't commented! ;)

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  13. We have a lot in common except for the food that we eat. I like to cook and I don't like eating the same thing all the time. I did try that once on a diet and although it was easy (I didn't have to think) I was bored within a week.

    Funny thing is that R. will be away next weekend and I have planned all kind of meals I like but he doesn't. I like to cook when he's away.

    But as you say, we are all different and that's a good thing otherwise we would live in a boring world.
    And ... not to forget: you did lose your weight and kept it off with your method and that's a lot more than I can say and I always admire you for that.

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  14. You AIM girls are awesome. We could all learn so much from you!!! Have a great Tuesday Shelley.

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  15. I feel the same way about dark chocolate... Somehow it just doesn't act like the same trigger as other sweets do. The higher the cacao %, the better I like it!

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  16. I LOVE this series -- so interesting to see the differences and similarities in the what all of you eat to maintain. Hmmm, lots of food for thought, as it were. :)

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  17. Catching up after being out of town...

    Thanks for sharing your post on this subject. I've also enjoyed reading about your recent races!! :)

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