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Monday, February 9, 2009

Weight Loss Weekly: So what is My Diet?

I don’t believe in diets. There’s always something new; eat this, don’t eat that, eat more of this, eat less of that. Fat-free, low-fat, sugar-free, gluten-free, no-carbs… South Beach, Atkins, Whatever… Enough already! Even the USDA can’t make up their minds about the “pyramid”. You can really go crazy trying to follow up on all those fad diets telling you what should or should not eat. And none of them seem to work anyway, right?!

Unfortunately, most of us lost all common sense when it comes to food. Millions of people live in big cities far away from the land, the trees and the plants where our food grows, and some of us never saw a real farm or a real live cow or chicken. We have this crazy lifestyle – we eat on the run, we munch on power bars and all kinds of other silly food for a quick energy boost, and we’re not in sync with our bodies. Who has time to “listen to my body” nowadays?

Today the formidable four – that is me and my weight loss weekly friends – are answering the question: what is my diet?

Joie de vivre writes: "I'm finding this a difficult question to answer because I am not following a "diet" in the sense that some diets are..." To read more, click Joie de Vivre: An amateur gourmet's guide

Sunny at That Extra 20 Pounds
answers: "For our weight loss weekly bit we're discussing the main guidelines of the diet we're following which I already talked about last week. But I do have a few new things I'm going to be adding to my plan for my next 6 week challenge." Keep reading at That Extra 20 Pounds

Giyen from Bacon is My Enemy is discussing other things today, and you can visit her blog here.

And me, 1 family. friendly. food answers:

I have mentioned before that when I was pregnant I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I was put on a strict diet to control my blood sugar levels so the baby doesn’t grow to be too big which might cause complications later on. It was challenging to follow that diet but I did it for a few months until I gave birth because someone else’s life, the baby, was at risk. And the nurse was very tough. That helped too.

The diet was a success: the baby was healthy, the delivery was easy, and I don’t have diabetes anymore. Oh, and I lost weight. I think. Because it’s really hard to tell while you are pregnant. But my arms and legs felt slimmer and my weight gain slowed down until the end of the pregnancy. So I think I can say that I lost weight. In general, I think that it was a good diet. But I don’t really like to call it a “diet”. I consider it more to be a common sense approach to eating. The key guidelines are:

1. Eating on a regular schedule – 3 meals and 3 snacks at pretty much the same time every day. For example, eat breakfast soon after you wake up, then a snack at 10-11 am, lunch around 12-2 pm, a snack again at 3-4 pm, dinner at 7 pm, and a snack before going to bed.

2. Monitoring the consumption of carbohydrates.

3. When eating carb-y food, balancing it with eating protein and fat as well. An example for a snack – eat a small apple (=carbs) with a cheese stick or nuts (=protein and fat).

4. Portion control. I measured and weighed everyhting I ate according to the quanitites the nurse has ordered.

Seems pretty simple, no?

I thought I’ll try following it again to lose the extra weight. But I have difficulties:

1. I prefer to eat when I start to feel a little hungry than according to a planned schedule. I don’t know which approach is the “right one” but I’m following my stomach at the moment.

2. I've got to bake a cake for the weekend! It’s a bug that I have (explanation here). And cakes, you know, are loaded with refined sugar and flour = simple carbs, which make your blood sugar levels jump up fast.

3. Snack before bed time? Most of the nights, I really don’t feel like eating anything after dinner. Now don’t laugh… When I was on the diet during the pregnancy, I managed to shove ½ cup of ice cream with ½ banana, nuts, and peanut butter most of the nights – are you don’t laughing? I know you probably think “I wish I could eat that every night and lose weight” – but, really, I didn’t enjoy it that much.

I also have my own guidelines which I follow:

1. Eating mostly home-made food. This way I have better control of the ingredients that go into the food – especially the amount of sugar, salt, and fat (and the type of fat) – and I know what their quality is.

2. When we eat out, we go to a good restaurant. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, but it has to have real food. Also, before I go to a restaurant I eat a little something at home. It sounds funny but I find that when I go hungry I tend to order more food, and since I don’t want to throw it away, or take a doggy bag, I end up eating it.

2. We very rarely eat junk food or drink juice.

3. When I do the grocery shopping, the first choice is to buy seasonal food. Seasonal food has more flavor and nutrients than when you buy the same thing out of season. I also find that organic, free-range taste better. When the food tastes better, I feel happy and satisfied sooner than when the food tastes like blahhh.

That’s pretty much it.

* I did adopt some of the “diet” rules: I'm eating a small breakfast, monitoring and balancing carbs with protein and fat. Sometimes I have a little something before bed time (like a glass of milk = carbs and protein, or fruit and cheese).

* I still bake and eat cake but only on over the weekend, and I give the rest away to collegues or kids' teachers (unless it’s a cognac soaked chocolate cake).

* Portion control is still a challenge (see here and here).

* Being more active is still a challenge.

* Listening to my body’s signals is still a challenge. I think I lost it; knowing when I’m hungry, knowing when I’m full, and knowing when to stop. This is my challenge for this week – listen to my body and do what it tells me.

What is most challenging for you?

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Sunny said...

this is a really great post! Seems like you and I are taking the same approach to weight loss- no dieting that is! :) I love the idea of baking a cake on the weekends, I love to bake and don't wanna give that up just because I'm trying to lose weight. oh, your baby is super cute!

Vered said...

"I prefer to eat when I start to feel a little hungry than according to a planned schedule." Same here. Otherwise I end up eating too much at the next "planned" meal.

Crazy Pants said...

I agree, I've always found diets so hard to maintain. Check this site out http://www.dramandaonline.com/ A scientist in Australia who puts all her research results into words we can understand! She's really big on only eating when you're hungry and explains why, it's very interesting and makes sense to me.

Nurit "1 family. friendly. food." said...

Berni, thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

My crazy crazy life said...

I love to bake and hate that I have to give it up to lose weight. I am making cookies as I post this comment because it is just so much fun. I'm going to send them off to work with my hubby. I'll be sad to see them go, but I need to just eat one or two and that's it. I have no will power. I liked this post...please post the recipes of those yummy pictures.

Justine said...

The challenge for me is wanting to try everything! but really, it's knowing when to stop eating, which is really hard because I love food and I also always feel bad about wasting, even the half a cookie I threw away today. It tricky because I must decide to I want to be too full/feel guilty or do I want to not waste, which I observe as a big problem at my school- there's so many plates almost full or food with only a couple of bites taken out of it. It's really too bad.

Nurit "1 family. friendly. food." said...

The recipe for the salad is here: http://www.familyfriendlyfood.com/2009/01/foodbuzz-24-24-24-5-stars-dinner-at.html
the recipe for the spinach casserole is from one of the last issues of Gourmet magazine. I'll try to find it online or post it soon.