Foodie Weight Management: Carbohydrates, Portions, and a Plan
I Can have It All!
Carbs, Portions, and a Plan
My name is Mary and I am a foodie. I am not sure what happened but somewhere along the way I developed a deep appreciation for food and all things related. This, in itself, is no big deal. The problem comes when I ignore portion control and consume simple carbohydrates, salt, and fat without constraint. I seem to struggle in this arena and often ask myself if I can be a foodie AND manage my weight effectively. If I have to choose which one would I choose?
I have chosen to not choose one or the other but to have it all. It has been quite the journey. I will share a few tips I have learned along the way.
Mary's Have it All Plan!
1. Carbohydrates are not evil: I know. The most fashionable diet plan these past few years has touted the notion that carbs are not a part of a balanced diet. These dieters might deep fry their butter and load their fatty steak up with bleu cheese but never will you see them nibble a slice of whole grain bread, indulge in a scoop of brown rice or couscous, or eat fruits and starchy vegetables. Too bad. These foods are delicious, nutritious, and filling. They provide the body with the fuel it needs to power through the day. I have learned that eating a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat helps me to feel great and gives me the energy I need to do the things I love. I do avoid simple carbohydrates such as refined sugar and white flour but I do not avoid whole grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables such as carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes. These foods are too nutritious to be ignored! Notice that I did not include a daily ration of ice cream, cake, chips, or other processed foods, These foods will promote weight gain if eaten on a regular basis.
2. Portion control versus "Super size me": We have accustomed ourselves to larger and larger portions. We look for the bottomless chip baskets, fries, and soft drinks when we go out to eat. Our favorite ice cream bowl is more akin to a soup tureen than a dessert bowl. I used to laugh at packaged food and Weight Watchers type portion suggestions and routinely doubled or even tripled those suggestions. I have found, however, that these portions are reasonable and that they are satisfying. The first few days I actually measured my food and practiced portion control I thought I might die of starvation. Within 3 days, however, I discovered that I was satisfied with these portions and began to lose weight. I did not have to eliminate food groups; I simply had to reduce my portions.
3. Make a plan: The next step in my plan to have it all was to make a plan of what I could eat. I wrote down my plan and checked it off each day. This plan allowed me to choose a balanced diet that included carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Ah yes! With careful planning and portion control I could have it all and lose weight. Each week I mapped out my breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for a 7 day period. I chose some breakfasts that I could grab "on the go." Be real! I was not going to cook a mushroom and egg white omelet early Monday morning. I am more likely to grab a protein bar or whip up a protein shake and eat on the go. I plan two breakfasts per week that take a little more time to cook. These might be as simple as hot cereal or as complex as bacon, eggs, hashed browns, and fresh muffins. I likewise plan my lunch and dinner menus. Snacks are typically fresh fruit, low fat yogurt, or a handful of nuts. I aim for balance in nutrition, taste, and cost. I am also careful that my planned menu fits into my schedule and budget. I count the calories when I make my plan and go grocery shopping with my precise list in hand.
These three tips helped me lose the weight that needed to go and have helped me to keep that weight off. Balance and planning have allowed me to have it all. Try it. It just might work. I will soon post more ideas and recipes for Foodie Weight Management.