Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Part 2: Eating Right

You CANNOT out exercise a horrible diet!

While working out is important (and certainly included everyday in my weight loss regime) eating right is SO much the bigger battle (for me) and really where the biggest impact is going to occur. (I've heard it said it's an 80/20 ratio. 80% what you eat and 20% your workouts.)

I mean I can jog for 30 minutes (which I had to work up to) and burn around 300 calories. Which is fantastic, dont get me wrong. But my point is, if you aren't conscience of what you're eating, you could mindlessly eat that many calories in a few minutes.

(Nov 2009 & Jan 2012)

I knew I could do better with my eating but I didnt realize just what I was doing to myself until I started diligently keeping track.

I've tried this so many times before! Some have worked- Weight Watchers; twice, first time I lost 10lbs (then stopped and gained it back), second time I lost 15lbs (then stopped and gained it back). Some have not-*trying to keep track in my head, write my daily consumption on sticky notes on the fridge, or in a journal.

Then last year my husband found a few online tools. We tried one, I dont even remember the name, but I was sporadic about it. Then we found myfitnesspal. I think the key for me was that a) it was on my phone, which is in my pocket all the time and b) a few super handy features (scan items, huge database, graphs of progress).


So back in September when I started I wanted to lose 45lbs.
And this is what I saw four and half months later!

By being consistent. And diligent. 



A few things that helped with eating/food portion of my weight loss:


Is It Worth It?! I knew starting a healthier lifestyle would be difficult and I was going in big, starting right before Halloween. And Thanksgiving. And Christmas. But way back in the middle of September, before any of that happened I had a thought. Next year, in five years, in ten years am I going to remember that second helping of thanksgiving dinner I had? Am I going to remember that dozen pieces of candy I took from my kids Halloween bag? OR am I going to look smokin' and be proud of myself? I could still participate in the holidays and celebrations but I could do it smart and still be just fine.

Using smaller plates. Our  normal dishes are a good general dinner plate size. My kids' plates are smaller and we have some ikea plates that are even smaller! I literally haven't used the big plates in over six months. Every night at dinner we set the table with our disney plates and I still don't fill it all up with food. 



Measuring out portions. If I'm going to make the effort, I want to make sure I am accounting for everything. To me, the extra 10 seconds are worth it. I bought an inexpensive ($10ish) digital scale online and even an extra set of measuring cups because I use them so much.


Having recipes/meals I could rely on. Since usually I don't have to feed my entire family for lunch (school and work) my lunches turned in to something easy. (I didn't set out to do this, but it turns out it has helped a ton.) I found two meals that I enjoy a lot so I make one, put the leftovers in the fridge and have lunch for a week then switch.  My two are Tostadas (174 calories) (where I found out I loved them while on vacation in California and my mother-in-law made them for me) and Taco Soup (175 calories for a 1/2 C). For dinners I eat a lot of chicken. (I <3 chicken) I have found a handful of recipes that work for me but have still been able to keep alot of what I usually cook and just watch my portion size.


Knowing ahead of time what our weekly meals were. I made a super simple weekly layout. Every week I fill it out, write my grocery list on the back and take it with me to the store (in case I see something on sale I can easily make a substitute). Then I put it on my kitchen counter, right where I can see it and follow it.


Getting rid of temptation It took a little while, but I dont give in at the store and think I'll only have 1 (Dorito, cookie, Reeses Pieces)  and my family will eat the rest because while it might be true SOME of the time, it sucks having to see that stuff at my house. Why do that to myself. I have to be my own cheerleader and I have to believe I can do this too!

Having on hand, low cal snacks. While I try not to, sometimes I like to snack. I tend to visualize and compartmentalize all my foods in categories of 100 calories now. Air popped popcorn, apples, chicken (I'll grill up some and keep it in the fridge so I can pull out a few ounces at a time), Special K cracker chips (my favorite / have the strongest flavor: Ranch & Sour Cream and Onion), Werthers Original (sugar free), fat free yogurt w/ a 1/4 c granola, a cup of dry cereal,  pretzel sticks, and an obvious choice is vegetables (but I'm not a fan! so sorry). All of the things in the picture below are about 100 calories. (Scooby snacks aren't my normal regime but my son really wanted me to add them into the picture.)


Don't drink your calories! I drink water or crystal light (and sometimes rarely, like when I go out to eat, again rarely, Diet Coke). My husband loves to drink juice, and thats just never been a temptation for me. 120 calories in 8oz of apple juice! Bazinga. I would WAY rather have an extra one of those snacks from the above picture for that price.


Planning my entree ahead of time if I was going out to eat. I'd figure out what I was going to eat a day or two before then the day of try to work out as close to that many calories as was feasible. Using online searches I could find just about any nutritional information from the restaurants I went to with ease. My best bet was always chicken.


Choose. Choose. CHOOSE. I didnt want to cut things out absolutely and completely. This whole thing is totally a mind game for me. The eating, the working out, all the aspects of it is a big mind game. In the past I've always looked at diets and thought "I can't do that. I could never not have___". I do however choose to have them less often. BUT when I want it, I count it and move on and dont beat myself up for enjoying it.
Also something helpful for me is that I try to start with half a serving. Plate it, sit down, eat it. THEN if I want more go get it. Sometimes, it's just a taste I want and I dont have to spend the rest of the calories. :) (With this in mind though, the three common foods I have in my house that I've noticed I choose not to have near as often as I used to are bread, cheese and peanut butter. (Again, for me, I'd just rather spend my calories else where. It wasn't an upfront choice of not eating these things but when I'd try to decide what I was putting on my taco I'd measure out an ounce of cheese and after the first or second time decide it wasn't worth it the next.)


As I said in previous weight loss post, I have to be absolutely honest with myself. Because whether or not I put it into my calorie counter, it's put in to my body,  there's no tricking it.



So here's a little more detail about how I am counting calories. I use myfitnesspal. Which you can use on a desktop computer or a smartphone app. (I use them both.)

My daily allotted amount is 1200 calories.
I work out first thing in the morning (I'll have another post about my workouts and what motivates me).
While my calorie counter adds in the new amount I stay to my 1200 because, at least for the time being, (I still want to drop another few lbs) I want to maximize my efforts.

Below is a random day from last week, to give you an idea. A nice thing is the data base is so large you can typically search for anything and find the info. If you have a smart phone there is also a bar code scanner option you can scan your food in and it'll pull up it's nutritional information and you can add it to your day.


You can right click on the above picture. But basically it just shows I had taco soup & crackers for lunch. Chicken, baked potato, and salad for dinner. Yogurt, granola, popcorn, crackers and a multi vitamin throughout the day. Total 1118 calories. 

One of the features I love is that I can enter in my common recipes and figure out exactly how many servings/calories they're worth. Just an example, here's a Taco Soup recipe. 


You'll see this in my workout post probably but I really like visuals. I love seeing my nutrition, fitness and progress repots and get a kick out of the progress I'm making!


If you made it this far, thanks for sticking around. Sorry it was so long! 
Here is Part 1. I hope to have Part 3 up next week (with some answers to the questions that were left in the last comments).

Thank you for all of your kind words and support!

25 comments:

Barbaloot said...

Good for you! That is inspiring. I'll be honest, the hardest part for me is definitely the eating. I can be good for about 3 or 4 days and then I freak out. I'm trying... I guess I'll just keep trying:)

Tabetha Elliss said...

You are awesome! I need to be more consistent and diligent. Thanks for sharing your inpsirational story and hopefully I'll have a similar one soon :)

Nicole said...

So proud of you Debbie! Weight loss is such an uphill battle, and it looks like you've put so many important things into practice....and it worked! Congrats!

Debbie / Cranberry Fries said...

@Barbaloot I totally know what you mean. I am super good at ~starting~ to eat right. HAHA Good luck!!

@Tabetha thank you! And I saw you yesterday, I dont know what you're talking about. :)

@Nicole Thank you so much. It really is isn't it? I'm so excited for you and your journey as well. Thanks for sharing so many of the elements on your blog, like the emotional that is such a part of it.

bedelia said...

Yeah, I agree. For me it was all about the "is this worth it?"

Unfortunately, lately, I've been slacking off and the scale is going back up. agggg. After 8 is my problem. I'm bored the kids are in bed. Jordan is doing school stuff. I read and snack. Tortilla chips and salsa are so good. But, I didn't buy any of my regular problem snacks so hopefully, I'll get back on track.

Rachel+Co said...

So inspirational Debbie. I think you are going to help a lot of people. Myfitnesspal is the only thing that's ever worked for me besides the stomach flu! Ive been amazed at the difference 10 pounds has made for me. I think I'll use it for the rest of my life for maintenance.

Debbie / Cranberry Fries said...

@bedelia That used to be my worst time of day too. I was bored and would graze in the kitchen all evening. Most nights now, after dinner I chew gum and get busy. It's helped because it's enough to distract me from letting my thoughts wander back to the kitchen.

@Rachel you have been one of my kindest cheerleaders through this, so thank you thank you. I agree, it's amazing just having something there that is keeping me accountable. Even when I'm where I want to be I'll keep using it to keep me in check. I love it.

Dadra said...

Amazing job Debbie. I have to agree about the whole 80/20 thing. I LOVE to workout (yes I am weird!!) but in order to see the results that I wanted, I had to really get the eating under control. I do eat back all my exercise calories though (plus I am nursing) so I eat about 2000 calories each day and am still able to lose about a pound a week (sometimes even more.) I am really close to my goal weight, but I may adjust it a bit lower too. I really like this quote and I think it is very fitting for you and your journey..."There will be pain in life, only you can decide if it will be pain from discipline or pain from regret." Awesome job!!

Jill Hunt said...

I seriously am so happy for you and admire all the hard work you have been doing! I mean to do it on your own and to find a way that works for you and sticks is AWESOME! A lot of what you are doing is exactly what I did last year in that 3 month challenge! Eating for me is definetly also my problem area. I have never had a hard time with the exercise part. Been working out consistently five days a week for years now, so that was never the problem. But when it comes to food, I am so WEAK!!! When I use to record it last year on a daily basis for 3 months, it totally helped and I think that rocks that you do that everyday! I got so burnt out doing that but I truly believe if you can visually see what you are putting in your mouth and have a goal each day then it is so much easier to say, "I can't have that piece of cake because I am too close to my limit for the day, it isn't worth it." The main thing that I am happiest from doing everything last year on my diet is it changed into a life change, not just a diet. I now know healthy yummy snacks, things to do and not do, and how to maintain. I am not trying to lose really any more weight, just trying to maintain which I have done for almost a year now. Of course I fluckuate between a few pounds give or take but for the most part I have stayed the same as long as I keep doing what I am doing and not give up. Do you ever give yourself a cheat day, a day you don't record your calories? Like mine was on Sunday. I needed a break where I could relax and not feel guilty if I had a bowl of ice cream or an extra helping of mashed potatoes and gravy. Night time is still the worst time for me. Probably also because I am by myself and it is my down time. I would chew gum more but honestly can't chew the stuff more than 5 minutes at a time. Anyways as I blab on and on! I really think you are doing so great, especially on your own without a trainer and someone to report to. I have always thought you were beautiful but now that shines more and more! Can't wait to hear what you final goal is! I mean, how much more weight can you lose girl?!

GAFlyGirl said...

way to go on your weight loss!!

Jill Hunt said...

Oh and I want your taco soup recipe!

Smithy said...

That is so awesome that you met your goal!! you seriously look fantastic! I also LOVE to snack and have found that I just can't buy cookies and chips or else I will eat the entire bag. It's tough, but you feel so good when you're exercising regularly and eating healthy.

Debbie / Cranberry Fries said...

@Dadra I love working out too so I totally get ya! I'm impressed you've been doing so well when nursing too. Seriously when I had young babies I was just trying to survive. Way to go!!

@Jill you are too kind to me. I seriously look up to you so much. You inspire me to kick my butt harder so I can be as hot as you. :) You know, other than the 4 days at Disneyland (I still tracked my calories) I haven't given myself any 'days off'. And after that week was proof to why-I totally gained 4 lbs in 1 week! :/ Haha.

Debbie / Cranberry Fries said...

@GAFlyGirl, Thank you so much! I appreciate the cheerleading! :)

@Smithy Thanks! I totally agree. I think too its hard because I'm the one home all day with that food in the house and I walk by the kitchen dozens of times. So if 'just have one' a billion times it's gone in a day. And I totally used to do that too. Gah!

Kara said...

So, so awesome! That is such a major accomplishment, and something to be totally proud of. You look fabulous! And I'm glad my taco soup played a role. :)

Karen Adair said...

You rock! What an inspirational and informative posting. I know what myfitnesspal did for me when you posted the link. I've got our whole workout group signed up now along with my husband. The word is spreading!!! And it's making a difference. Thank you for changing so many lives by sharing about yours. :) Keep up the great work!

Rachel Sue said...

You look fabulous. And this is just in time to give me some serious inspiration to meet my goals. Thanks for putting it all out there!

Shelley said...

Awesome post, you are totally inspirational! Thank you sharing all of these details with us, I've been getting off track lately and you've been really inspiring me to get back on my program. Thank you! Would you be at all willing to post a few of your chicken meal recipes and how you fix Tostadas? Meal planning is our biggest challenge, and with a daughter who we take to dance 4 nights a week, time is of the essence.

~j. said...

GOOD FOR YOU! I'm so proud of you! Keep it up!

linzlinzlinz said...

I've been thinking about you and your accomplishments all week. You're certainly an inspiration for me and I hope at some point I can really buckle down like you have. Congrats!

Debbie / Cranberry Fries said...

@Kara I'm SO glad I found your recipe. Literally I eat it EVERY day for lunch every other week. It's super delicious.

@Karen That's so exciting you've got your whole workout group on there. It's so much more fun when you've got friends to keep you going or to check in on you. Plus I like that it's kind of a game, w/ the progress reports and stuff. :)

@Rachel thanks so much! Good luck with your goals!

Debbie / Cranberry Fries said...

@Shelley I'd LOVE to share the recipes and meal ideas with you. The thing I love most about counting calories is really you dont have to eat 'special' things, you just gotta count what you do eat. I'll email you and also see if I can't get a fun post together.

@~J Thanks! Hope you're doing well, haven't seen ya since that summitt (I haven't really been around much). :)

@Linz oh gosh you're so sweet. I hope things work out for you. Life is so busy with all our extra jobs isn't it!?

Amber Lynae said...

Do you mind if I pin this post on pinterest?

Seriously, I love you for sharing your success. It is so helpful to me.

Also, I would love more recipes from you. Didn't you do slim and six for a while?

Debbie / Cranberry Fries said...

@Amber You are so freaking awesome. I wouldn't mind at all. :) I am actually working on a post of my 'working out' portion of the equation and one of my favorite recipes I've used. I'm not sure how long it'll take me though. Haha. I did do one recipe today so hopefully I can get the others done throughout this week.
Yes I did a set of Slim in 6 in Jan/Feb. It was great!

Emily said...

This is SO awesome! How did I miss all this before? You are an inspiration and this post has me definitely rethinking my eating habits. In fact, I think I'll pick up a digital scale tonight. :)