I have a new plan. I'm really not a planner, so this is a surprise to me as well. It's related to food. Anyone who knows me knows that I like food. This makes any sort of diet rather difficult because I'm either hungry all the time or I want whatever food I can't have. A few months ago I joined Weight Watchers online thinking that would be a good way to be more aware of what I eat and how much, it's not a set diet so I thought it would fit right in with my love of food. I could eat whatever I want, if I ate something "bad" I would just have to eat more fruits and veggies (most of them have 0 points) and less other things.It sort of worked, but I discovered a few problems. The first of which is the fact that my schedule does not follow the traditional 24 hour periods people like to call "days." I tried several different ways of tracking meals from putting them on whatever day I ate them on, to keeping them on the same day if I hadn't been to bed yet. None of it really worked. Even when I knew I wasn't eating "too much," it seemed that WW was telling me I was. My other problem with it was the way points are calculated. Other than the fact that (most) fruits and veggies have zero points, there is no incentive to eat high quality, nutritious food. The focus is on low-carb, low-fat, high protein, high fiber foods. A Yoplait Light yogurt is worth 3 WW points, the same as 1/4 of a raw avocado. Low-fat, low-calorie (and thus full of ingredients you've never heard of) salad dressing is worth fewer points than homemade oil and vinegar dressing (two ingredients, oil...and vinegar). Here's the nutritional breakdown of the two foods from nutritiondata.com (I couldn't find Yoplait yogurt, but the Breyer's is very similar, it has slightly more sugar and more protein): The ingredients in the yogurt are - Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Non-Fat Fat Milk, Blueberries, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Modified Cornstarch, Whey Protein Concentrate, Kosher Gelatin, Natural Flavor, Tricalcium Phosphate, Citric Acid, Aspartame, Potassium Sorbate added to maintain freshness, RED #40, Vitamin A Acetate, BLUE #1, Vitamin D3. Don't worry, I have a point. Nutritionally, the avocado is better. It has a MUCH lower glycemic index (here's some info on what the GI means) and it only has one ingredient...avocado. The yogurt, however, has all kinds of filler ingredients aren't really necessary. I started feeling like WW was causing me to make poor choices just to stay under my daily points value (it's really hard to eat 1/4 of an avocado, and did I forget to mention the fat in them is GOOD fat?). So that got me thinking, rather than be on a "diet" maybe I should just eat good, nutritious food. This concept is not new. It's called "clean eating." The idea behind it is that you eat food that is made from real (identifiable) ingredients and stay away from processed foods. I don't eat a lot of processed foods to begin with, but things as simple as bread have all kinds of things that don't belong in bread. My friend Court (from Living the Fit Life) has being doing this for awhile. So, I borrowed "The Eat-Clean Diet" book by Tosca Reno from her to see what the experts were saying.
Image courtesy of amazon.com
Here are the basics: *Eat a complex carb and a lean protein at every meal/snack *Eat six small meals every day *Eat breakfast every day *Eat 2-3 servings of healthy fats every day (AVOCADOS!!) *Drink lots of water *Eat lots of fruits and veggies *Adhere to proper portion sizes. She says to avoid processed foods, white flour, sugar, preservatives, artificial sugars, saturated and trans-fat, and don't super-size your portions. I'm not one to believe these kinds of things will really work. Especially these days when people are all about losing weight without any work. I know it doesn't work that way. For me, this is more about thinking twice about what I put into my body. Especially since I've been sick for two weeks and I eat a lot of junk at work because it looks good at the time (I'm beginning to wonder if the two are related). Here are a few things I've done to adapt these ideas to fit into my goals and lifestyle: *I started sweetening my coffee with honey instead of sugar or sugar-free syrup...but I still put half and half in it (real half and half, not the fat free stuff...it's got too many ingredients...real half and half has two...milk and cream). *I am trying out some sprouted grain bread, it's made without flour - more nutrition, less "non-food" ingredients. So far so good. *I've started reading the ingredients on packaged foods before I eat them. I don't eat a lot of these to begin with, so it's not hard. *I found new protein bars that only have 4 ingredients Really that's about it. So far, after two days, I have yet to be hungry or crave something that I can't eat (or that I am unable to find an acceptable alternative to). I'll keep you all posted about how this is working out. And don't worry, if I miraculously lose 10 lbs. just from changing my food choices...I WILL let you know!