Several people have asked me what I eat and how I handle travel and eating out. I’ll try to explain my strategies. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been following a plan from Bariatric Health and Wellness for several months. This is a plan where I buy the food and basically eat what they have. It’s fairly easy to follow.
A couple of notes. There is no “one size fits all” way to eat. This plan has worked for me but I have also been successful on Weight Watchers. One of the key ingredients for me this time is the amount of exercise I have been doing – 5-6 days a week for at least 45 minutes a session and usually 60 minutes.
Planning is essential. When I began this program in late June I took seven containers and planned my food for the week each Wednesday night after my weigh in day. Most of what I was going to eat went into the container. I added the perishable items each day. I did that through the early fall when I had the hang of the plan. Now I plan the next day the night before. I pack my lunch bag and make sure I have everything I need other than what I may need to grab and add in the morning.
I will also add that I did something similar when I was successful on Weight Watchers. After my weigh in I went to the grocery store with my list from which I did not stray and then went home and prepared for the week. On WW I would bag carrots, celery, etc. in small bags, divide portions into containers and put everything in their spots in the refrigerator. I also made a meal plan each week before the week started and I tracked everything I ate.
Here is a typical day:
Breakfast: cereal or oatmeal, skim milk
snack: jello, coffee
snack: peanut butter & jelly bar
lunch: vegetarian chili, crackers
snack: cheddar chips
dinner: chicken noodle soup, crackers, vegetables
Yes, I eat often and I try not to eat too late at night. I think both of these things have helped because I don’t get hungry. I believe that I also wrote that I have not followed the plan 100% and recently I have added some food because of the exercise I am doing. So lunch or dinner may also include a salad with some chicken.
I also drink 96 oz. of water a day. I have all but given up soft drinks and coffee. I do have 1-2 cups of coffee a day, often decaf but not always now. If I am really tired I will have a diet Pepsi or diet Coke but they do not taste as good to me as they once did.
Tracking is my other key element. I write down everything I eat and the time I eat it. This helps me keep track of what I eat and also gives me a record to look back on if I do get stuck. I can easily answer what I might have done differently. I also track all of my exercise. I’m a bit obsessive about tracking.
Eating out, Meetings or Life in general
There are a fair number of food related events in my job. I also attend conferences for work. I decided early on that I was not giving up my Sunday brunch with a good group of friends. So what do I eat then? The answer is that I eat sensibly and make good choices. I generally eat broiled or grilled fish and a salad or vegetables. I have yet to go to a restaurant that cannot accommodate my eating needs and usually without asking for special treatment. I am also not afraid of leaving food if it turns out that something isn’t prepared the way I thought it would be or if the portion is too big. I am pretty good at judging what a portion is and isn’t. Many restaurants serve portions that are enough for four people. If I wind up with something like that then I just eat enough for one. Ordering fish and vegetables tends to be “safe” though because I have found the portions tend to be reasonable. In fact I often would like the portion of steamed broccoli to be larger.
Salads can be tricky and so can soups. Those depend on how they are made and what ingredients are in them. If I am not sure then I ask. I also ask for things to be left off.
I rarely, if ever, eat dessert. That is brand new for me. I might eat a bite of something but not an entire piece. I don’t crave sugar anymore or even think it tastes very good. Breaking this kind of habit takes some time.
When I am going to eat out I also plan. If I know where we will be going I look at the menu online. Most restaurants have menus and nutritional information available. I try to figure out substitutes if I need to do so – ex. ask for skim milk instead of whole milk. I sometimes steer people to different restaurants if we discuss where we are going and have not decided yet. I take care of myself and I plan.
At receptions or events like that I often don’t eat. No one else cares what I am eating. They are more concerned with what they are going to eat. I can carry around a glass of water and be perfectly happy. I don’t go to an event hungry either.
I have been on a 10 day trip overseas and on a cruise since I began losing weight last summer. I used the tips and tricks I have listed above on both trips and I also took my own food with me. On both trips as well as when I travel anywhere, I take food along. I make sure that I have something that I feel that I can eat so I don’t get hungry and eat just because I haven’t prepared well.
I admit that all of this takes some time and discipline. It is becoming natural for me now though. I’m not afraid to say that I don’t need anything or that I don’t care for anything to eat. I won’t remain on the strict plan forever but I will continue to plan and to be mindful of what I eat.