This is hardly a news flash for those of you who’ve been reading my blog for the last year: I’m not the tracker and planner I used to be. What might be newsy-ish, is that in and of itself – for me – that isn’t such a bad thing. I was waaaay militant about tracking and planning for years, to the point where I’d panic if I missed adding an olive or a couple of almonds to my food diary.
What I’ve found is a sort of left-to-middle ground, one where I call on my experience with food and the confidence I have in myself to know what’s best and not best for me. (Although, as you will read, I don’t always take my own advice, thus left-to-middle. I’m still working to find that perfect middle ground).
I decided for this topic I’d examine the “What Do I Eat?” portion on my FAQ page, written in 2009, and compare it to what is real for me now. The text in italics is from my original post.
I became a vegetarian after I got to goal in 2007.
This year, I have added fish back to my diet, particularly salmon, scallops, shrimp, orange roughy, flounder and canned tuna. I eat fish roughly three times a week.
Many people have asked…how I get enough protein each day. I strive to get between 55-60 grams of protein a day.
I stopped tracking that stat a few years ago.
I don’t eat “fake” meat (except for Boca vegan burgers) because the sodium content is so high.
That’s still true,
I like to make my own homemade bean burgers and keep them in the freezer.
I like to, but have I lately? Ummm….no. (Note to self: make burgers this weekend.)
My go-to protein sources are:
3 egg whites: 11 g
Cabot 75% reduced-fat cheese, 1 ounce: 9 g
Greek yogurt, ½ C: 11 g
Boca burger: 13 g
Soy milk, ½ C: 4 g
Edamame, 1/3 C: 12 g
Bean burger: 6-12 g
Lentils, 1 C: 17 g
All still true.
As for volume, I eat a LOT of veggies.
Not as true anymore. Where I used to eat up to nine servings a day, I struggle now to consume four or five. It may be because my meds have changed a bit, namely I now take prescription strength iron and B12, although I’ve found no literature indicating these things cause a change in appetite.
Many veggies I used to love just don’t taste the same, and so I’ve had to come up with new and more appealing ways to eat them. Also, salads – once a staple in my diet – don’t cut it for me anymore. I suspect overkill. I got bored.
I usually eat something every 2-3 hours.
This is still true most days. I eat a fairly big breakfast that includes protein (either egg whites or yogurt) and fruit and sometimes veggies. Once in a while I’ll include a grain such as an English muffin or toast, or opt out of the higher protein foods and eat oatmeal or cereal with fruit.
Entirely carb-based snacks leave me unsatisfied. I like to eat a bean burger, edamame, some almonds, a piece of cheese or a hard-boiled egg. Sometimes I’ll have PB2 (Bell Plantation’s dried peanut butter that you mix with water to make it smooth) with a banana. I also love squash. Any kind of squash: butternut, acorn or spaghetti. Leftover squash makes a great snack. For butternut and acorn squash, I mix it with a small amount of reduced-fat butter and maybe a bit of brown sugar. I put butter, pepper and Parmesan cheese on my spaghetti squash.
I want to be THAT person again! OK, so I’m not that far from that person, but I admit it’s been awhile since I’ve bought a squash.
Hummus is a must-have in my house, too. I prefer to make my own, but some store-bought is good, too (particularly Trader Joe’s brand).
I haven’t made homemade hummus in months. I found the Giant Eagle store brand to be far superior to even Trader Joe’s! I keep it in my fridge at all times, along with cottage cheese, something I rarely purchased before.
I also like to have a vegetable soup on hand for a quick snack. Other soups I make are usually bean- or lentil-based and they make good lunches or dinners.
Yes and yes! So…maybe I’m not as far from the old me as I thought.
I limit my fruit intake to two servings each day. My other rule is no more than one tropical fruit serving a day (i.e. bananas, mangoes, pineapples). I also try to limit my grain-based carbs to two a day (reduced-calorie bread, crackers, cereal, etc.), I rarely eat pasta, and I limit potatoes to once a week (I used to eat them 3-4 times a week).
This is actually still very true. However, fruit is another food I lost a taste for, so I don’t always eat two servings a day. I also eat potatoes maaaaybe once or twice a month, although I confess I discovered Kettle Brand baked chips and I do munch on them sometimes…in moderation. I make pasta salmon salad a few times a month, too, and use whole wheat pasta. Otherwise, pasta doesn’t do much for me.
What else that’s different from when I wrote “What Do I Eat?” is I socialize more, which means more restaurants, more food on the go, and eating more frequently at friends’ homes. This trend has tried to lead me by the hand to my old ways of eating, and I confess I don’t always resist in the way that would be best for my body. Bread baskets and butter pats, full-fat dressings, a bite here and a bite there of appetizers, desserts, or the meals others are having….all have found their way back into my eating behavior.
But while clearly there is room for improvement in the ways I eat away from home, I am more mindful of these patterns than ever before. A huge improvement in the way I used to maintain any weight loss. I reign myself in faster, tweak my diet quicker, and say no to myself more often.
I’m no longer a slave to food, but a student of food, which is a BIG step further along my path to the perfect middle ground.
AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you’d like us to address!