Saturday, September 24, 2011

Some tricks I've learned to make this journey easier

When I started, I didn't know where to start other than to limit my carbs and get more exercise and eat less overall. Over the last several months I've learned some tricks that help me through rough patches and have found foods that seem to satisfy my tummy and tastebuds without going overboard on calories or carbs.

First, I went back to my trusted companion foods from when I had gestational diabetes. I enjoy a crisp apple, generously sprinkled with Saigon cinnamon and dip it 2-3 tablespoons of Jif peanut butter. I've tried natural peanut butters, but it has to be Jif. That snack is so delicious and so satisfying to me that I eat it almost every single day. I love it after a workout as it's cold and refreshing, satisfies my hunger and is nutritious too. That lunch is usually about 300 calories.

In the beginning, I did protein shakes with whey for breakfast. They are OK, but I tired of them. I liked them as I like a sweet breakfast, but  with needing to avoid carbs, that was difficult. Cholcoate protein shakes helped, but lately what I've discovered for a great breakfast is a smoothie. I use one cup of homemade lowfat plain yogurt and mix it with fresh/frozen fruit. I try to always use blueberries and then decide between mango, peaches, strawberries and cherries. I blend that up and have a delicious breakfast full of protein, some fat and fairly low carb for about 120 - 140 calories. That keeps me satisfied for hours.

Another trick I've learned to help with snacks are Atkins protein bars. I only buy the ones that have 2 grams of net carbs. So, when I really feel I just have to have chocolate bar or something sweet, I grab one of those. It totally satisfies the sweet tooth, but without doing the damage of a candy bar. Yes, I know there are artificial ingredients, but I was eating cheetos and store bought cookies/bars before that are just as bad or worse. Going completely clean, at least at this point for me is not realistic. Those bars range from 130-210 calories typically and have loads of protein, fiber and calcium.

Other tricks that help me is to have cheese sticks ready for snacks. My favorite is Polly-O Jalepeno Mozzarella stick. Two of those and it takes the hunger pangs away - 160 calories.

Hummus and fresh veggies are a fantastic lunch with about 150 calories only. I sometimes add a dash of a spice mix to literally spice it up.

For meals, I just make food for my family like normally, but I skip the carb. If I'm making rice with stir fry - I just eat the stirfry portion, making sure there are protein options in either tofu, nuts or chicken to fill me up. For pasta dishes, I make the sauce and either eat a really small portion of the pasta, or instead of over pasta, I put it over broccoli slaw. Again, making sure the sauce has protein to keep me less hungry. For some reason, my body doesn't have sugar issues with potatoes, so I will eat a small potato when my family is eating potatoes.

More recently, I've discovered making mini pies/pizzas. Less dough and then I can fill with beans, cheese, meats and they make great lunches and easy to grab for 250-300 calories per each and not too many carbs.

And I'm constantly learning. I just discovered a recipe for cauliflower pizza crust - have to try it as people rave about it. I add nuts to more foods than before because they add nutrients and taste delicious. But almost everything I do, I try to keep it easy to make and easy to serve as I don't like having to work to prepare my breakfast and lunch. I know myself. I don't like to cook for one which I think is part of the reason I ate such crap for breakfast and especially lunches before. Simple and easy. For dinners I cook for a family and I like putting some effort in with it, but that's only one meal of the day!

So there you have it - my tricks with eating. Not super clean, but soooo much better than what I used to do. it helps that I love to cook and I'm comfortable in the kitchen.

Stats for 9/24/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 182.4

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