Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Creating My Diet Plan - Part IV (Food Selection)


So, it appears that my post caused a little confusion yesterday.  After re-reading my post, I can see where I messed up...and that it's confusing trying to decipher the message I was sending.

I started out saying that calories are all the same - and that they can come from anywhere.  Then, I go on and say that the source of the calories play a MAJOR role in weight loss and need to be selected carefully.

Well, if that's the case...then calories aren't all the same and DO matter...right?

No.  What I meant by yesterday's post was simply just like fat doesn't magically turn in to muscle, there aren't certain calories that turn in to fat and some that don't.  I did a really lousy job of explaining that there's a big difference between calories and food.  

A 200 calorie candy bar and a 200 calorie salad both provide the same 200 calories of energy that's measured.  However, the food itself is what plays havoc on your body.  The candy bar is chocked full of simple carbs and bad fats that will leave you feeling hungry a lot faster and help add to the "padding" that's located under the skin.  The 200 calorie salad will digest slower, provide more nutrients, and help absorb some of the "padding" under the skin.  Both foods doing different things, but both containing the SAME calories.  

When I just count calories, and eat whatever I want... I go for a while doing great.  I log everything.  Count everything.  And I start seeing some decrease on the scale.  Then, I get lazy, stop logging and start guessing.  Still continue to eat what I want - but sometimes forgetting about something I've eaten during the day...and wonder why on earth I'm not losing weight or I'm gaining it back again.

Point:  People tend to use food choices and calories as the same thing.  Almost intertwined.  Rather than just counting calories, opt for foods that do good things for the body than bad.  Train the mind to understand correct portion sizes, and relying solely on the numbers will become obsolete.  Does that make sense?

Hopefully it does... but, I'm no professional at this.  I get what I'm saying, but maybe it's coming out like gibberish.  I probably sound like I am negating everything I say, but I don't know a better way to say it.. so it is what it is.

Sally and I have been devising an eating plan that will work for me, not relying on counting calories but choosing foods that will give me the best bang for my buck while helping to repair the damage that I've done to my body.

Counting calories works wonders when I'm trying to figure out how much I'm burning while exercising compared to how much I eat.. but I don't know the correct way to accurately determine how many calories I'm burning.  So, rather than doing that, we're coming up with a life-long plan full of foods I can eat and enjoy forever...that will help me lose the weight now, works with the exercise I'm doing to get an even bigger payout, and can stay with me forever so that I don't lose it all and gain it right back again.

So, let's go back a second to why I'm doing this in the first place.  

I was bombarded with suggestions of "diet plans" I should try out.  The main contenders were Clean Eating, Paleo, Vegan Before 6, and Atkins.

All great programs with great success stories.  The Clean Eating plan was the one I preferred the most, being that it's the only one that doesn't really cut anything out...except for anything and everything that's prepackaged.

Paleo cuts out dairy and legumes.  Vegan Before 6 cuts out meat before 6.  Atkins cuts out carbs.

But I like dairy.  I like meat before six.  I like carbs.  And realistically, I can't buy ALL of my meat, produce, and grains directly from a farmer or butcher.  

So, right from the get-go, I have some issues with each one.

Sally says that I shouldn't feel bad finding the issues I'd have with these plans... because knowing the issues up front means that I know they probably won't work, and it's not worth wasting my time trying.  

However, they all share one common theme:  Selecting foods that are better for you and with the ultimate goal of losing weight and keeping it off.

Meaning that picking and selecting certain components of the plans and mashing them together with other components CAN work.

Sally also cautioned me that unless I have the willpower and motivation to stick with whatever eating plan I choose - it doesn't matter anyway.  Because I will fail.  Period.  I either have to commit to a life-long change or accept the fact that I'll be overweight forever.  One or the other - there's no wiggle room.

So what are the rules when it comes to selecting my foods?

First, eliminating the majority of white flour and sugar.  It's great to say that I would eliminate them completely, but there are a few foods that I can eat that will contain either.  Mostly sugar.  For example, my Greek yogurt.  While I could opt for plain, non-fat Greek yogurt...I don't like it.  No matter how much fruit I mix in to it.  I prefer flavored Greek yogurt.  That comes with sugar.  But the health benefits of the Greek yogurt makes the sugar long as I know that it's in a very strict, limited amount.  So, if I opt for something to eat later in the day that contains sugar, I should probably hold off until some other time.

Second, only buying and eating whole grains.  And really only buying whole grains.  Checking ingredients on packages to make sure that no hidden white flour or sugar has been added.  Buy 100% whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, and brown or wild rice.  

Find other healthy grains that I could use... couscous, quinoa, etc.  There are a plethora of grains out there that are good for me, good for weight loss, and that I've never even heard of.  Be willing to try new things.

Don't buy low-fat or non-fat dairy.  Low-fat and non-fat dairy don't have the fat, but it's replaced with sugar.  And pretty much all of the nutrition is taken out.  PLUS, there have been countless studies done that show that full-fat dairy (in small doses) actually have good health results... including less body fat.  Dairy contains saturated fats, but I've read several studies and articles over the past couple of days that prove that saturated fats found in dairy are NOT the devil...and can actually ward off certain health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and clogged arteries.  Fascinating stuff.  Google:  Saturated Fats.

**Just want to point out that this negates my non-fat Greek yogurt, but I LOVE my yogurt and won't be giving it up.  

Eat lots more veggies... preferably from fresh, but steamed is OK.  Avoid canned veggies, but if that can't be avoided make sure to buy low sodium cans that have basically nothing more than veg and water as the ingredients.  

Eat more fruit...but not too much.  Fruit is a great alternative to a sweet treat, but still needs to be eaten in moderation.  Any and all fruits are good for you - in some way.  But some pack more natural sugars than others.  

Select lean cuts of meat.  Any and all meats are OK, as long as they aren't fried or covered with sugary sauces or oils.  

Use more fish.  Fish is a great source of nutrients you just can't get anywhere else...and it's yummy.  Cod, talapia, salmon, and haddock are all good selections for cooked fish... but canned tuna is good, too!  As long as it's in water...and not loaded with mayo.

I could list ALL of the foods that Sally suggests, but that would make this post WAY longer than it needs to be.  

But, the food selection is the easy part.  How many people don't know that these are the foods a healthy eater should be eating? Yeah... not many.  

However, even stocking my pantry, refrigerator, and freezer with all of these wonderful products...and eating too many of them.. still won't blast my weight away.

The real science comes with how much to eat and when to eat it.

And that's the part of my journey that I'm discovering right now.  The when and how much.  Portion sizes aren't the only factor.  I know what my portion sizes should be... but do I eat six times a day?  Three?  Only when I'm hungry?  What foods should I eat for each meal?  Does it matter?

And that leaves me open for tomorrow's post....What foods I should eat at certain periods of the day, and how much.

I really apologize if my posts sound...well... "duh-ish".  I've said it before and I'll say it again... I know you all know this stuff.  I know it's stuff I've probably said before.  I don't know why it's different now.. heck, I don't even know if it's different now.  I do know that I'm excited to have a friend that's helping me out and sending me information and ideas and how-to instructions.  

Tomorrow's post will be the last in this "series".  I will get out everything that Sally advised me on from the get-go and will get back to my regular scheduled programming.  That will mainly consist on how I'm doing following all of these guidelines.  I've been going at it for well over a week now..which isn't very long, but I'm starting to feel pretty good about it.

If you're bored...just bare with me for one last post...then the Mad, Fat Woman will be back in full swing.  

Till next time!

a/k/a Mad, Fat Woman

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