Yesterday I got an idea, and I felt so good about it that I had the drive to implement it last night, and I now have stashed in the fridge in the break room 2 meals plus 1 snack for each day this week.
My idea is to start using the nice little digital kitchen scale I registered for before our wedding. It's been sitting on our sideboard, rarely used, for over 18 months now. Last night I gave it a good workout, and it did a great job.
I've tried counting calories, and from that experience I know that I'd never stick with the Weight Watchers points thing either, if I ever felt tempted to try it. It was just way too much hassle to figure out what everything I ate contained, and from there to decide how much of it I could/should eat.
Then on a few occasions, mainly after New Years and right before summer, I've told myself that I can eat all the foods I love, but just eat less of them. Well, this doesn't work for me either, because it's just too vague: I need a hard, bright line to use, but one that's easy to see and stick with.
Yesterday I decided that bright line would be the weight of my meals. Last night, I first took a trip to Giant for some lean protein snacks and a pack of the Ziplock 8 oz plastic containers. At home, I measured and weighed to create containers of breakfast and lunch for Tuesday-Friday this week, and now they're all at work with me, lined up in the fridge and ready to grab. Each meal is 8 oz of food, all of it food I love. I also have supplies for various high-protein, low-fat afternoon snacks weighing in at 4 oz each, and here I'm trying some new things, such as 1% cottage cheese to which I will add a scoop of fat-free salsa, and 1-oz packs of part-skim string cheese.
Breakfast is a 1/2 cup scoop of oatmeal, a scant handful of walnuts, a scoop of the blueberry sauce left over from a cake I made this weekend (it's just blueberries, brown sugar, and lemon juice), and then I top that off with skim milk until I hit 8 oz. The sugar in the blueberry sauce is all the sweetner I need, and it's so delicious that I plan to make more of the sauce, sans cake, just to use on my oatmeal.
Lunch this week is leftover pork curry over rice for two days, and for the other two days an egg salad sandwich piled high with broccosprouts, my new favorite sandwich topper in the known universe. The lunch containers only weigh in at 6 oz, so I'll probably add a string cheese each day for a total of 7 oz.
Snacks are all pre-packaged, so I can decide what I want each afternoon and still know exactly how much I'm eating. Cottage cheese with salsa or plain, some fat-free Greek yogurt (I got one peach and one vanilla to try), and tonight I plan to make some fat free dip out of 3 oz fat free plain Greek yogurt plus 1 oz of fat free sour cream, add some garlic and pepper, and dip in the baby cucumbers I bought to make something like a fat free, high protein tzatziki.
For dinners I plan to cook as usual, whatever food we want to make, no restrictions (altho we are going to start eating leaner meat and more fish!), but then instead of loading up my plate or bowl with as much food as it can hold and thus ending up with no leftovers, I'll use the handy scale again to make sure I don't take more than 8 oz. Then if I am really hungry for seconds, or if I want dessert, I can have up to another 4 oz.
In addition to all that, which I'm going to follow 100%, I have two other tricks I'm going to try: I'm going to take time to eat my meal or snack, trying to stretch it over a half hour if possible; and I'm going to try to not drink during meals, and wait for another half hour after I'm done eating before I have anything to drink. That last part is going to be hard for me, because I've been used to drinking as I eat for my entire life, but I've been looking up information about it, and it seems to be better to drink before a meal and not during. I might not stick with that part, but we'll see; maybe I'll get used to it pretty easily.
I feel so differently about this plan than about any other diet-like plans I've had before. I literally never stick with anything for more than a day or two, but I think it's been because it was too much hassle, too hard to follow, or too vague. I don't feel nervous or hesitant or annoyed or hassled at all by this plan - I just feel really relieved that I don't have to think about what I'm eating for the rest of the week, I don't have to fool around trying to figure out what to eat in the mornings or what to take for lunches, and I don't have to worry about feeling guilty when I don't have time to pack my lunch and I end up eating in the cafeteria.
Instead of having a small idea like trying to make myself eat yogurt for lunch every day, which leaves me unsatisfied and craving more food, this time I have an entire plan and all the tools to do it - a variety of food and snacks, reuseable containers in the right sizes, a kitchen scale, and regular, normal food that I like to eat.
I weighed myself last night, and now I'm going to follow the plan for at least 2 full weeks before I weigh myself again. I hope that after 2 weeks of never pigging out, I will have lost a few pounds, and that will be more than enough reward to encourage me to keep doing this indefinitely. Already just the feeling of not having to think about what I'm eating during the day, not feeling guilty, and knowing that I'll be efficiently using all my leftovers and saving money by packing all my food, makes me feel so great that I have no desire to stray at all.
- Lose weight
- Waste less food
- Save money
- Eat more protein
- Eat less fat
- Eat more fruits & veggies
Here's hoping I've finally come up with a plan that will work for me!