Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Busy Mom's Journal: Back to Basics

With all the difficulties I've been experiencing, and my admitted tendency toward emotional eating, it's been a tough month to keep on the healthy eating plan.  I'm about 10 pounds away from my goal, but with the internal struggle I'm experiencing, it might as well be 50.  It surely seems like it.  

So I've been trying to go back to the basics of what I've learned from my time with Weight Watchers.  They've got a slogan that says, "Diets don't work.  Weight Watchers does."  Well, what ABOUT it works?  Here are the healthy eating gems that I've learned.  They are applicable to everyone, no matter what your plan for health.  It helps me to be reminded of these basics.  Sometimes I complicate things in my mind, so outlining the simple things makes life look a little bit easier, and my goal seem a little bit more attainable.

The Basics
  1. Write down what you eat.  Every bite.  I know. I know. That sounds tedious, but it's crucial for me.  I am very good at mindlessly putting food in my mouth, without thinking about it.  If I know that I have to write down that little bite of my son's hot dog, and count the points (i.e. calories) for it, I will be less likely to take that bite.  It makes me conscious of what I'm eating.
  2. Eat your fruits and vegetables.  Simple, I know.  But true.  Fruits and veggies are full of nutrients and are just plain good for your body.  I try and add a veggie or fruit into every meal, as a snack, and always sneak extra veggies into recipes.  The best thing about fruits and veggies for me:  THEY KEEP YOU FEELING FULLER, LONGER.  That's key for me.     
  3. Plan ahead.  I've had people comment about how big my lunch bag is.  There's a reason for that.  I always bring more food to work than I will probably eat.  My bag keeps everything cold, and what doesn't get eaten goes back into the fridge for the next day's lunch.  I plan ahead for all of my meals and snacks, so that I don't get caught off guard.  I've even started planning my dinner menus ahead of time.  That way there is no standing in front of an open refrigerator door, staring blankly, wondering what I will scrounge up for dinner.   All this planning makes my life simpler to execute.  Less last minute decision making.   
  4. This one is the most important for me right now: One poor food choice is just that- one choice.  It doesn't mean that there has to be a second.  Take last Wednesday, for example.  I had a cookie.  Not the end of the world.  It was a fabulous cookie.  White chocolate macadamia nut.  Really good.  Not a big deal, you say?  True.  But I had already had Burger King for lunch, so there were no points left for the cookie, and I didn't want to dip into what I call my "weekend" extra points.  In the past, I would have said, "Oh well.  I blew it with the cookie, so I might as well blow it for dinner too.  I'll start fresh tomorrow."  Instead, I've learned that it's better to just let the one poor choice be just that- one choice.  I don't need to follow the one cookie with another, and another.  I can pick up right where I left off, dust myself off, and get back to the plan.  No need to beat myself up.  Just get back to the plan. 
  5. Indulge, but plan for it.  I really don't do well depriving myself of the things I love the most.   Like chocolate.  What I try and do is make sure that I plan for my indulgences.  Any healthy eating plan worth its salt will allow you to have a bank of extra points or calories during the week to spend however you see fit.  This is where I treat myself to good things.  I don't go wild and crazy.  There's still a limit.  But nothing is forbidden.  Trust me, if it's forbidden then I want it all the more. 
So that's my list of basics that have gotten me through the first 40 lbs.  I know they can take me through the next 10, and help me to keep it all off long term. 

So what about you?  What are your basics?  What have you learned that you never want to forget?  Comment.  Discuss. 

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