Monday, March 27, 2017

Maintenance - What I Eat Now

A reader recently emailed me with some questions/topics relating to my Ask Me Anything post.  I guess I figured, because I've been living this "maintenance" life for so long now, that what I do is pretty boring, eating-wise, but she was interested enough to ask, so I decided to take pictures and keep a few notes on what I ate for a week.  Here's what the reader said to me:

Please start talking about your healthy food choices again. Blue Baker is obviously great, but a routine diet of their items is certainly not what is keeping you in the same size all these years. To keep from returning to where you started, you are constantly having to make the better food choice. That takes an enormous amount of inner strength! You have a lot to offer us on that topic, too, so don’t think you don’t. With your hubby gone for work a lot, you have made it a habit to make healthy choices, when it could much more easily be a drive-thru, junk-food, food-fest (I remember those days for myself!). So continue to share with us, how to you talk yourself into maintaining those healthy choices. What goes through your head when you’re making your food choices these days?

This post represents a week of my eating in March.  Jeff was traveling, so most of my meals were solo.  Toward the end of the week, as my long run on Saturday was looming (for this week, I was looking at running 11.5 miles), I started trying to increase my carbs a bit, plus I can't really do much in the way of salad/veggies, especially the day before the run, or my stomach rebels during the run.

I am not the poster child for eating a perfectly-balanced meal every day; what you are seeing here is real life for someone who used to be really overweight, lost a bunch of weight, and has managed to keep most of it off without hyper-focusing on every morsel that goes into my mouth.

Tuesday - exercise:  4 mile run
  • Breakfast:  Protein drink and black coffee (x3) after my run.
  • Lunch:  Leftovers - bacon from BB, about 4 oz of OJ, toasted sourdough baguette from Panera with about a teaspoon of butter.  I had dinner plans with a friend so I was eating light.
  • Snack:  Iced nonfat latte (no sweetener) while doing a quick grocery shop - I don't usually stop at Starbucks while grocery shopping but the store I was at had one inside, plus I had a freebie coming to me.
  • Dinner:  The restaurant we went to has added some new menu items, so we made a quick decision to try their chorizo queso with guacamole and chips.  It was pretty good!  Because I had the queso and chips, I didn't get fries with my pesto turkey burger.
How this was maintenance for me:  I ate fairly light during the day in anticipation of dinner out, plus I didn't get fries with the burger since we had an appetizer.

Wednesday - exercise:  none (rest day)
  • Breakfast:   Black coffee (x2).
  • Lunch:  Half of a huge salad from Salata - I got it to go, with dressing on the side, and brought it home for both lunch and dinner.  The salad was made with romaine lettuce, herbed chicken breast, broccoli, mushrooms, garbanzo beans, feta cheese, hardboiled egg, dried cranberries, strawberries, grapes, pineapple, and apples. 
  • Snack:  Banana, then two Dove Dark Chocolate Promises.
  • Dinner:  Other half of the huge salad.
How this was maintenance for me:  I planned on doing the huge salad to make up for the lack of veggies/fruit over the previous day (and let's be fair, probably the following day as well).

Thursday - exercise:  2 mile run
  • Breakfast:  Black coffee (x2), protein drink, more coffee, and a Clif bar at the gift shop.
  • Snack:  Chocolate cookie, bite of snickerdoodle cookie at the gift shop.
  • Lunch:  Homemade chicken salad sandwich (350 calories), tiny dill pickles, Sun Chips (I went back for a second handful after I finished what was pictured).
  • Dinner:  Split a burger and fries with Jeff
  • Dessert:  Frozen Yogurt (and look, you can see the sides of the cup - that's my goal with self-serve, to not fill up the cup)
How this was maintenance for me:  My breakfast gets squeezed in as I don't have a lot of time between running and getting ready for my volunteer stint, so I usually end up bringing whatever I have on hand to eat at the gift shop while we're getting the store ready to open.  The cookies were free that day; I didn't end up eating one because after one bite I could tell it wasn't worth the calories - the other cookie, however, was delicious.  A staff member came in to buy chocolates for all of her group and had Rosalie and I choose one for ourselves as well, which was very nice.  I saved mine for later because I wanted to savor it and not take a bite and then have a customer come in and have to slam it down - if I'm going to eat those calories, I want to enjoy them!  I didn't eat lunch until close to 2:00 pm.  I was just going to have a bowl of cereal for dinner and the sea salt caramel for dessert but Jeff, who'd been out of town all week, got home earlier than expected, so I went with him to return his rental car and then we stopped for dinner out.  This day was a victory for me because I didn't eat the sea salt caramel treat when I came home for second dessert - hey, it's been known to happen!

Friday - exercise:  none (resting up for long run Saturday)
  • Breakfast:  Black coffee, Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup Grape Nuts (trying something different instead of granola).  I could have gone with less Grape Nuts as that ended up being a lot of crunch in my yogurt.
  • Lunch:  Split with Jeff - chicken shish kabob, rice, veggies, naan bread and baba ganoush
  • Snack:  Cantaloupe, handful of pretzels
  • Dinner:  Split a burger and fries with Jeff
  • Dessert:  finally ate that sea salt caramel from Thursday
How this was maintenance for me:  Splitting two meals.  This was a carb-heavy day on purpose, in anticipation for our long run the following day.

Saturday - exercise:  11+ mile run
  •  Breakfast:  Bottle of chocolate milk, a couple sips of OJ, lots of coffee, three pieces of bacon, and the raspberry/dark chocolate scone.
  • Lunch/Dinner:  Chips and salsa, beef fajita roll up with a lime dressing on the salad greens, rice, a few bites of beans, a few chips dipped into the queso, and most of the guacamole.
  • Dessert:  Half a Bundtlet cake.
How this was maintenance for me:  Quite frankly, it wasn't.  After such a long run, I got everything I wanted at Blue Baker - of course, I couldn't eat it all as my stomach usually doesn't allow for much when I run a lot of miles, but I had options, dang it!  It's pretty much an eat whatever day.

Sunday - exercise:  that would be a big fat NONE
  • Breakfast:  Black coffee (x3), banana, leftover cranberry walnut muffin.
  • Snack:  Some pretzels because I could reach the bag while lying on the couch with animals on me.
  • Dinner:  Huge salad from Salata; did not come close to finishing it. 
How this was maintenance for me:  I went with my hunger cues and didn't have lunch - I was pretty hungry for dinner (as was Jeff) so we went to Salata, but neither of us finished our salads.  We gave it a good try, though!

Monday - exercise:  megaton of housework including vacuuming, ironically, a megaton of pet fur, plus 8 loads of laundry.  If I were counting steps, I'd have a lot on this day.
  • Breakfast:  Black coffee (x2), plain nonfat Greek yogurt with dried cranberries and granola
  • Lunch:  Clif bar
  • Dinner:  Chicken salad sandwich, tiny dill pickles, Sun Chips (plus more after I finished these)
  • Dessert #1:  Air-popped popcorn
  • Dessert #2:  Dove dark chocolate Promises
How this was maintenance for me:  I had my old standby breakfast of Greek yogurt/fruit/granola, which holds me for quite a while.  I was busy all day with household chores, and then grabbed a Clif bar to eat right before I took Paco to the vet in the afternoon.  Dinner was early, right at 5:00, as I was pretty hungry at that point, and then I was still sort of hungry, which resulted in popcorn and then chocolate.  I pretty much ate most of my calories at the end of the day - eh, it happens.

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Other notes regarding this particular week's meals:
  •  What I didn't show in the pictures is the amount of water I drink on a daily basis - I have a couple of 24 oz. Tervis tumblers that I'm constantly refilling throughout the day; I'd guess that I drink at least 100 ounces of water, if not more, every day, which also helps to fill me up.
  • I'd been craving some Sun Chips and bought a bag - I love them with chicken salad sandwiches and even put them inside the sandwich.  But even though I put a reasonable handful on my plate, I went back for more each time.  This is why I don't buy chips very often.
  • Because Jeff was traveling so much over the last few weeks, I made an effort to meet up with friends for several dinners; while I'm fine with being alone, it's not good for me to spend every meal, every day, all by myself.
  • I get into food ruts with certain meals, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it kind of goes to show that no matter what, I still get food cravings.  The only difference is that more often, it's for big salads, or a 350 calorie homemade chicken salad sandwich, instead of Taco Bell's Big Box meal (I was so embarrassed when I realized it was marketed for men's appetites) or a McDonald's Extra Value Meal (plus an extra cheeseburger).  I'm not perfect, but I'm a heck of a lot better than I used to be when it comes to eating.

35 comments:

  1. Great post!!!! It reminds me that this journey is not about eating dry lettuce and raw carrots for every meal. It is about moderation, healthy choices, balance and only splurging on what is really worth it!!!!! Thanks!!!

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    1. Listen, I couldn't even do dry lettuce and raw carrots back when I was dieting, LOL!

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  2. I think logging your meals like this is a great way to stay mindful of what you are putting in your mouth. You're doing a great job.

    I drink water from a Tervis cup too, but I have problems drinking from it--the water dribbles down my face. Is it me, or does this happen to you?

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    1. I actually don't log my meals - I just did this for a week in order to write the post.

      I use a lid and hard plastic (reusable) straw for my Tervis cup for water - either I, or Kip the cat, will knock over the cup at least a couple times a week, so this helps with the clean up. No face dribbles come with drinking with a straw...

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  3. That is smart to plan out a meal based on your upcoming runs/activity. I never do that. Also, I am guilty of having fast food/guilty pleasures when my husband is away cus it's food I would never eat around him since he is trying to lose weight.

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    1. It's nice of you to not eat the fast food around your husband - losing weight is hard enough without having your spouse eating what you'd really like in front of you.

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  4. Thanks for sharing! I've wondered too what you eat!!

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  5. What variety. I get the same lunch and breakfast everyday!!!

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    1. I used to have the same thing for breakfast every day - like, for years it was Greek yogurt, granola, and fresh fruit - but I've finally switched things up.

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  6. I loved this post Shelley - because you are home and have constant access to pantry/fridge I love how you've figured out how to eat for maintenance without eating everything you want every day because no one is watching you.

    I am assuming Salata is a chain? I've not heard of it - we have SoupPlantation (I think that's the name) its a giant soup and salad bar with hot food as well.

    And love that you split meals! I've lately done the same thing - just eat half and save the rest for later. I am always happy about that because I don't feel stuffed after eating.

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    1. Constant access to the fridge/pantry is exactly why I don't keep a lot of tempting food in the house (see that bag of Sun Chips for reference). And yes, Salata is a salad bar chain where they make the salads for you as you go down the line, choosing everything you want.

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  7. I enjoy seeing what other people eat, no matter where they are in their weight journey. You've proved that you can eat whatever and maintain. I know I've said it before but I love that you and Jeff split meals as I've had the hardest time getting Mr. Helen to do that. He's such a leftover lover that he doesn't want to share. I guess that means I just need to learn to eat half, right?

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    1. Learning to eat only half is still hard for me - but you are right, I'm lucky that Jeff likes to split meals with me.

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  8. Great post Shelley! As some of the other gals have mentioned, I also wish I had a husband that would split meals with me. So I need to learn to split it myself and take half home (or just not eat it).

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    1. If I get a to go box and put my half into the box right away, I can eat half a meal on my own, but it's way more challenging to do that than to split it with Jeff.

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  9. I wish we had that salad restaurant!

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    1. It's a good one - we are really enjoying it.

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  10. I just realized that I didn't comment this morning! But I loved this post, and thought about it most of the day. You are much better at controlling your choices when you eat out than me. And also, you gave me a few ideas about how I could change up my meals/snacks a bit, so thank you!

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    1. I thought it was weird that you didn't comment on a food post, LOL!

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  11. Love that you post and eat real food. Not dreadful "dieting" food. I like the dark chocolate idea.

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  12. What a fun way to keep track of what you're eating! And I love that you balance healthy and fun, which really helps for the long haul.

    Dark chocolate figures heavily in my "treat" rotation too. And it's actually got some health benefits, go figure!

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    1. Weirdly, dark chocolate doesn't trigger my "more" cravings like milk chocolate does, so I can keep it in the house and have some fairly often, but in moderation.

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  13. I love reading about what other's are eating when it comes to healthy foods! Gives me a few ideas for meals/snacks! Thanks for sharing!! :)

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  14. Hey Shelley, how do you prepare your chicken salad sandwiches? I am always making egg salad for my lunches, but I need to mix it up. :D

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    1. I use a can of Swanson's white meat chicken (100 calories for the entire can), a tablespoon of olive oil mayo (50 calories) and a lot of Penzey's Mural of Flavor seasoning. My bread is 100 calories/slice. Sometimes I'll change it up and use some sweet pickle relish instead of the seasoning. An easy lunch, and pretty good, too - hope you like it!

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  15. This was really helpful. It goes to show even with as much exercise as you get you still don't eat nearly as much as i imagine you could while maintaining. If I ever get there!

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    1. And that's the rub - EVEN WITH ALL OF THE RUNNING, I still can't eat a lot. I blame my age, too many years of yoyo dieting that messed up my metabolism, and the world in general (LOL). But that's my reality, and I have to accept it.

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  16. Thanks for sharing this! John and I often split meals. It kind of is that thing where it's too much for one, but not quite enough for two, so we will get a treat afterwards to share :D

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    1. Yes, sometimes when we split, it's necessary to get a little treat afterward...that picture of the half burger with like six fries? We were both a little hungry afterward; luckily a froyo place was a couple doors down. :)

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  17. Thanks for sharing this. It's especially helpful for me to see how you do when Jeff is gone. I am single, and it's a challenge to find good, healthy meals that aren't too much. The sharing when eating out is a great idea too. I have learned that it's ok to leave some on the plate even at home. That was hard for a girl raised to be part of the clean your place club. :-)

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    1. I agree, it IS hard to leave food on the plate. All we can do is keep trying, right?

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