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Curds 'n' Weigh: 12-Step

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


(Photo Copyright 2012 Sardonic Salad)

My name is Blessed Love and I'm a foodaholic.

Well, not really...I mean, I wouldn't steal my mom's television for a cheeseburger, but you get the point. I realize that food has always been the safety valve for my emotions...happy, have a slice of cake...sad, eat a bag of chips...bored, stuff your face with pizza!  I'll be seeing a counselor soon as an added component to my weight loss journey and while she might be able to help stop the compulsion that comes along with eating, I don't know that I'll ever stop LOVING eating.

So, how can a food addict like myself lose weight?  From previous attempts (twice losing over 40 pounds...and gaining it back as soon as I quit my program), I've learned that instead of trying to change me to fit a "diet", I need to change my diet to fit me.  Along the way, I've learned a few tips that help me lose weight without feeling deprived.  I've always heard, if you want to lose weight...ask a fat person! 

1.  Understand that this is a lifestyle change and not a diet:  The first step for a foodaholic to lose weight...know that this is not a temporary fix.  It took a lifetime to get to my size, so it will take a lifetime to reach and maintain my healthy weight.  It's not just about the numbers on the scale, but about nourishing my body with good foods that will help my body thrive.  Every day is a chance to do something positive for myself...even if I stumble, because this is a life change, there's no guilt for breaking my "diet".  I simply need to get back on the horse and keep riding.

2.  Eat 5-6 small meals instead of fewer large meals:  While eating more frequently will not guarantee weight loss alone, it does stop the mind tricks that come along with deciding to eat healthy.  One of my main problems was skipping breakfast, ignoring hunger pangs and going all day without eating and then binging on the first thing in sight because I was starving (obviously I was not cut out to be an anorexic).  This lead to overconsumption, in addition to poor food choices.  When I'm starving, my rational brain goes on vacation and is replaced by a monster like Audrey Jr. in Little Shop of Horrors...FEED ME Seymour!!!  Because I know this about myself, I have tried to set myself up for success this time.  I eat breakfast at 6:30am and eat small meals about every 3 hours thereafter (of course, being mindful of total calories).  This helps because I never get to the point of desperation for food; also, because I'm eating so often, a meal may sometimes be as small as an apple with a handful of almonds because it takes less to fill me up when I'm eating throughout the day.  After just one day of eating this way, I automatically get hungry after about 3 1/2 hours whereas before, I could go all day without eating.

3.  Trade out empty calories for less calorie-dense food:  Eating smaller, more frequent meals is not enough to lose weight; the key is selecting good food choices for those meals.  While a slice of pizza and a salad may both contain the same 500 calories, the salad has much more bulk and nutrients and will keep you fuller much longer.  Speaking of nutrients, it's amazing how many obese people are actually malnourished.  To be successful, it's important to choose nutrional options with more bulk: whole grains, fruit, vegetables.  These items also have less fat, which in turns lowers their calories since each gram of fat contains 9 calories!  It's important to note, however, that not all fat is bad and fat is a necessary component to our health.  Of course, fat from vegetable sources is much healthier than fat from animals.

4.  Be sure to include complex carbohydrates and protein with each meal:  Fiber-packed foods and protein help you feel satisfied and stay full longer.  Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and apples (with skin), oranges, beans, etc. take longer to break down in the body, giving you sustained energy for a longer period of time, whereas simple carbs (white rice, white bread, sugar) give you short bursts of energy but leave you feeling lethargic.  Protein boosts your metabolism and helps you keep lean muscle (since you lose fat AND muscle when you lose weight).

5.  DRINK WATER:  Do you want to know the real secret to weight loss?  Increase your water intake!  Water is a magical liquid with a multitude of health benefits.  Not only does water help flush out toxins from our bodies allowing our organs to work more efficiently, water also aids digestion and helps keep your joints lubricated--when you're super obese like I am, you need something close to WD40 to keep the creaking joints at bay!  It has been suggested that we should drink up to half our body weight in water daily.  At my starting weight of 372, that would be 186 POUNDS of water...unless I'm putting a straw in the ocean, that's a bit unrealistic; however, I do try to consume at least 12 glasses (96 ounces) of water daily.  Thankfully, food consumed also counts towards the water intake, especially fruit and vegetables which are a staple in my eating plan.

A typical day of eating for me might look something like this:

6:30am  Breakfast: whole grain seed and fruit bar, 1 cup of almond milk, 1 scoop protein powder, 1 cup grapes

9:30am  Snack: 21-seed toast with 1 tablespoon peanut butter

12:30pm  Lunch:  Grilled chicken salad with a pear or apple on the side, handful of almonds

3:30pm  Snack:  Mango, 1/2 cup yogurt

6:30pm  Dinner:  Baked tilapia, 2 cups mixed vegetables, baked sweet potato

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