First of all, thank you for taking the time to write. I truly enjoy your blog, and often feel like you are the voice inside my head! I have faced so many of the same struggles you did previously. I am in a position now where I have about 25 more pounds to lose to be at a healthy weight. I recently had my 2nd child, and this is the first time I feel like I can maintain what I’m doing, as opposed to feeling like I’m drowning, and just waiting to take a breath ( aka eat again!)
I track my calories in My Fitness Pal during the week, and give myself a break from tracking over the weekends (I think that’s part of what keeps me going), but try to make intuitive choices. It may include a meal or 2 that I wouldn’t normally eat during the week, but not the “binge” my old self would have done. I don’t know if that’s “right” or “wrong” but it seems to be working for now. However, I’ve recently gotten in a rut of grabbing Lean Cuisines for lunches, light breakfast sandwiches, etc. because it’s so easy to track (scan the barcode and done), and quick to grab before I go to work in the morning. But I often find myself looking at the way you eat and thinking “Yeah, I will eat intuitively like that once I’m at a healthy weight, but for now it’s easier to track calories like this.” But that sounds pretty silly when I think about it.
Why is it… “when I reach my goal weight?”
So my question for you is, if you were in a position TODAY where you needed to lose weight, after all you’ve been through, how would you go about losing it? I’m sure you wouldn’t change the way you initially lost your weight, but with how far you’ve come and the food choices you make today versus 10 years ago, what would you do NOW?
Thank you so much!!
First I want to say I love your approach! It’s pretty much what I did when I was losing and what I still do to some extent — Strict during the week, more laid back on the weekend. I was also a Lean Cuisine girl back in the day for the same reason — it was easy to track — and I think there’s a lot of value in that if you use it as a stepping stone to make even more positive changes to your diet (food consumption.)
When I started cooking more I remember being stressed about figuring out calories/points, servings, etc and frankly I still do to some extent when I’m trying to cook and share on GreenLiteBites. It’s overwhelming!
That said, let me answer your real question:
How would I go about losing weight now vs. how I initially lost my weight back then?
This is such a hard question for me to answer not only because I eat so differently now but because my head is in a completely different space. I don’t even know how much I weigh now! I haven’t gotten on the scale in over a year. I’ve accepted that my body will be the product of my lifestyle. Working out and lifting are now ingrained in my daily routine. I’m simply not the same yo-yo dieting person I was in my teens and 20s.
For the sake of discussion, however, I will speculate the hypothetical …
First, if I wanted to lose weight I would do a lot of things the same:
- Find support and accountability — for me then it was the blog and Weight Watchers meetings. There is no doubt sharing my journey here on the blog and attending a meeting once a week did wonders for me. I made those two things non-negotiable back then. I wouldn’t let myself walk away from either.
- Measure my progress — I’m anti-scale now, but back then weighing myself helped me learn about my body and measure my success. I also took photos, and had a few pieces of clothing to use as benchmarks. Regardless of how you do it, having some way to see your progress is important.
- Keep a food journal — It’s invaluable and I’d argue almost necessary.
Things I would do differently now all revolve mostly around my food choices, but not because what I did then didn’t work (it did!) but because I don’t eat the same way at all.
A typical day back then, when I was losing would look like:
- Cereal (All-Bran or something similar) with almond milk and blueberries (portion weighed out)
- A sugar-free yogurt cup
- Lean Cuisine or leftovers for lunch (portion weighed out)
- 100-calorie pack of something
- Dinner would be some measured out pasta dish or lean meat with veggies.
- Popcorn and/or ice cream sandwich before bed if I had enough points left
Here’s an actual page from my 2005 food journal.
(Don’t I have the best handwriting?)
I don’t eat some of that stuff anymore. I’m not demonizing it at all — that whole period for me representative of huge change in my eating habits especially as it relates to portion sizes. I pretty much ate out of convenience and learned how to balance calories using points. It worked! I lost 70 pounds in 8 months eating that way.
However, my goal was so much more than weight loss. I wanted to learn how to eat and how to be a good, healthy example for my kids so I kept making changes to my diet.
A more recent a typical day for me would look like (before Whole30 that I’m doing now):
- Eggs with veggies, potato and ham, or oatmeal or leftovers
- Fruit, nuts or granola bar
- Leftovers or lunch out with The Husband (sushi, Chipotle, etc)
- Nuts, crackers or something with the kids after school
- Dinner is pretty typically a protein, starch and veggies
- Cheese and crackers, popcorn or some of The Husband’s chips
If I was specifically looking to lose weight I would do all the things I mentioned and give myself more food accountability. I would probably approach a day like…
- Egg/egg white veggie omelet
- Less eating out! Leftovers portioned controlled to include protein, veggie, starch. Big salads!
- Nuts, carrot sticks or fruit only if hungry but I’d try to hold off to dinner.
- Lean protein double veggies mostly skipping the potato or rice.
- No snacks at night. If hungry, fruit or carrot sticks.
Interesting enough, this is how I’m starting to eat right now because of Whole30 but if I wanted to actually lose a specific amount of weight I would measure all my servings, probably go back to weighing myself daily (it motivated me when I was losing) and keep a photo journal here on the blog.
So I guess my approach to weight loss wouldn’t be much different than it was back then besides my food choices. It’s kind of funny for me to think about because I have really successfully adopted a stateless dieting approach. So in a weird way I wouldn’t do anything much differently than track more consciously and eat less of the things I’m already eating because I no longer have that mentality that certain things are off limits while I’m “dieting” because I don’t diet anymore.
I hope this was helpful Haley, and appreciate the question! It really got me pondering how many slow and steady changes I’ve made over the years which makes me want to say, #wycwyc for the win!