Saturday, September 26, 2009

Special Request: What I Eat - and a Couple of Questions

Hey! This is not a fashion post, so skip on by if this isn't your thing. I don't mind. Really, go ahead.

Lyn, or Lady K, has been full of questions (Lyn, I'm not sure where you're from - Hungary? but your English is excellent):

I was amazed to find out that you was once on the heavier side of the world!!!??!!! No ideea of this at the beginning! Loved also, your posts about your dear Father and your daily fast walking to-and back from your workplace!(how many km. is that/day?-and how long takes you that?)You are very brave and a wonderful person!! Congrats and keep on doing! thank you so much for inspiration!!!

You're very welcome!

I was absolutely on the heavier side of the world! I weighed close to 200 lbs...and I am 5'4". I have struggled with my weight and body image issues for nearly my entire life.

Part of starting this blog was to be personally accountable to myself about how my clothes fit and how I feel about my body. A surprising side effect to blogging has been that I have a much more accurate picture of what I really look like...after all, there are pictures.

To get back to the questions, my walk each way to work takes about 40-45 minutes, depending on traffic (some days, the lights are against me!) on how late I am. It's about 6K each way, and I do it 4 days a week, so 48K a week, just from going to and from work.

Thanks for the kind words, Lyn!

Will you tell us again how you rewarded yourself after you loss weight? I mean how did you do it after certain markers? I think you said shoes. Makes good sense! You look nice and trim as always. I keep remembering I can do it too.

As I lost weight, I set small milestones. First, it was the 10% of my starting weight (I got a keychain from WW). Then, whenever I hit a round number, like 170, or when I had lost milestone of weight, like 5, 10 or 20 lbs, I rewarded myself.

For the first 25 lbs, I bought accessories, shoes, things that wouldn't be too big as I lost more. At 25 lbs, I spent about $250 and bought a mini-wardrobe of about 12 clothing items, so that I'd have clothes that fit me for work. Thereafter, I would reward myself with a clothing item (a pair of size 10 jeans! a medium top instead of XL! a belt!). When I hit the 50 lb mark (my official goal), I bought a wonderful dress, which I don't think I have worn on the blog - I need to get it hemmed - appropriately, I call it my Fifty Pound Dress.

I had also been saving my money, and once I'd lost 55 lbs, I spent about $2,000 and bought a full new wardrobe. Everything had to be replaced, from my underwear, to my workout clothes, to my winter coat, and even my tights! Everything. The only things I had left that fit were shoes (and some of those were too big as well) and jewelry. I had to have my wedding ring resized too.

So I spent quite a bit of money on all those clothes, and I want to make sure that I keep my weight off! I don't ever want to go back to being heavy and unhealthy.

I know, this is not exactly the place to deal with, but could you please make us once a post on your diet which keeps you so thin and beautiful for ever? For ex. to see exactly what you eat, on a weekday.(if possible, with photos:-). This can help some of us a lot, especially regarding meal sizes, quantities, and time schedule on a healthly diet...thanks so much

Okay, first of all, sucking up is so nice.

Regarding food, I'm a Weight Watchers' lifetime member (I've maintained my goal weight loss for nearly 2.5 years). One of the things WW teaches you is to write down what you eat - and I have been tracking my food for over 3 years now...but I've never actually taken pictures of my food, so I was intrigued to see how my attitude towards my food is when I can actually SEE what I've eaten. You know, like on those health makeover shows when they lay out all the disgusting junk that the person has eaten in a week?

So here we go!

Monday to Thurday - Breakfast and Daytime: I'm really very boring. I eat the same thing for breakfast every day, and I take the same lunch to work every day. The plus side is that it makes grocery shopping easier (I know exactly how many apples to buy), and I do have little variations. My breakfast is always 1/4 cup of Fibre One, with some sort of unsweetened or barely sweetened cereal on top of that. Lately, I've been into the Nature's Path Whole-Os. I use skim milk. In the summer, I have raspberries, blackberries, strawberries or blueberries on my cereal as well.

This is my daytime food - see why my coworkers make fun of my massive lunch?:Yes, I take all of that to work and I eat all of it every day. I buy whatever fruit is in season, plus always apples and bananas. This week I had nectarines, pears and kiwi fruit. I also have a baggie of sugar peas and radishes. I pack a salad of mixed greens, a tub of cut-up carrots and a tub of plain yoghurt. I also have a sandwich on whole wheat WW bread. A couple of days a week, the sandwich is deli turkey with Dijon mustard and onion sprouts, and a couple of days a week, I'll have egg salad (made with low fat lemonaise) with sprouts.

Around 11:30, I get hungry, so I have "second breakfast":Usually, I have a grapefruit too, but they didn't look good last week. I had them all this week. I spoon bits of yoghurt onto the banana, then I quarter the kiwi. I eat half of the yoghurt each day.

I keep dressing in the fridge at work: I finished this bottle of Annie's low fat Ginger Vinaigrette, and am now onto Newman's Own low fat Balsamic Vinaigrette. Hmm...looks like I ran out of sugar peas that day and was down to just radishes.

I eat the carrots and the apple on my walk home, so that I'm not starving when I get there. When I run out of carrots, I cut up celery instead.

Main Meals during the week:

Monday:L and I usually eat late (we both blog, then I cook), around 7. This is chili (okay, actually a mix that I got at the Fair from Mitchell's Soup Co. - you just add extra veggies, meat and water and stew it for about 6 hours) that I made the weekend before, using leftover pot roast. I also added in fresh tomatoes, green onion and yellow peppers. This dinner is the thawed out remainder.

As those bowls are smaller than they look, I also made us bun melts:
Whole wheat kaiser buns, with a slice of Canadian bacon, with chopped up peppers, green onion and tomato, topped with a sprinkle of asiago cheese, then done in the oven for about 10 minutes. Yum!

Tuesday:

Tuesday is our poker night - it's also the night we get groceries, so time is tight before 3-4 guys arrive at our house at 7. L and I treat ourselves to Subway:
I always get a turkey wrap (no cheese, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, pickles and mustard), and I always peel off most of the wrap. I find Subway's wraps too doughy - I wish they did whole wheat wraps.

Wednesday:We each had a plate of shrimp with Seattle's Public Market Wasabi cocktail sauce (spicy! woo!) for an appetizer.

Then we had dinner about an hour later:
Fresh corn on the cob, and thawed out soup. I make a giant batch of soup about once a month, whenever I buy one of those BBQ whole chickens at the grocery store. After we have a meal with the chicken, I debone it and cook up some dee-lish soup. This soup has mushrooms, brown rice, carrots, celery, yellow pepper, green onion, broccoli and cauliflower in it.

Thursday:
On Thurdays, we always have a bottle of wine with dinner. After all, it's almost Friday! This night, we had spaghetti. Extra lean ground beef, onion, celery, red pepper, green onion, broccoli, cauliflower and mushrooms. Sometimes I skip the ground beef and do prawns - then I add a big scoop of fat free sour cream and it's a nice creamy tomato sauce. I usually do a double batch of sauce (I cook two different ones, since L loathes mushrooms, and sometimes I like to add zucchini to mine. He also likes his a lot hotter than I do.), and then we have it again within a couple of days, but with a different pasta. I always use whole wheat pasta.

Friday:
Friday is the start of the weekend, and I treat myself to plain oatmeal and frozen blueberries (fresh fruit if it's in season, sometimes a bit of honey for extra sweetening), plus an egg (like my microwave egg cooker? it rocks!) and a glass of milk for breakfast.

In addition, Friday is my "no exercise day" and it's "eat out lunch" day. I bring all the fruit, yoghurt and the carrots to work, and eat them, but my main lunch is at a restaurant. This week, we went to Kelsey's and I had the grilled salmon salad (dressing on the side, of course!):
It had walnuts, red onion, strawberries and crumbled blue cheese along with a nice-sized piece of grilled salmon. Yum!

To prove that I dip my fork in the dressing vs. dumping the dressing all over everything:
We had to rush out to meet friends to see a movie after work, so I whipped up a quick chicken burger for each of us (10 minutes prep). I buy bags of pre-cooked chicken breasts and always keep a stash of frozen whole wheat kaisers handy. I put lemonaise, lettuce, sliced tomato, ketchup and Dijon mustard on these.

I forgot to take a picture until I was nearly done!
I didn't have the camera with me, but we went to the pub after the movie and I had two pints of Coors Light (it's Friday!) and Mexican lettuce wraps to eat (spiced ground beef with salsa and sour cream that you wrap up in lettuce leaves to eat).

L had to take the camera to work with him on Saturday, but I wrote down all my food. Saturday is my "free day"; I go to my WW meeting in the morning, and my new week of tracking starts on Sunday morning, so I reward myself by allowing myself to eat whatever I want for Saturday. This way, I never feel deprived, and I can hold off more easily on mid-week temptations if I know I can have that special or "forbidden" food on Saturday.

I ate:
- my weekend breakfast of oatmeal with blueberries;
- Eggs Benedict (English muffin, two soft-poached eggs, spinach, mushrooms, green onion, pesto hollandaise on the side) with salad at my favourite diner while I was out shopping;
- most of a bag of Barbara's Jalapeno Cheese Twists;
- a little box of Jelly Belly jelly beans;
- a can of Amy's organic chili (with mushrooms added) and a whole wheat bun for dinner.

I'm pretty sure I drank either most of a bottle of wine or a few vodka and Frescas, too.

Sunday:

Sundays right now are NFL day. I usually watch the morning game and the evening game. In the afternoon, I either go shopping at my favourite consignment stores, or I go for a run, then nap, read, blog...whatever. L and I don't do anything on this day. It's very relaxing.

I had the usual oatmeal/blueberries, and for lunch I made quesadillas: A multi-grain tortilla, with Canadian bacon, mushroom, peppers, green onions, refried beans and a very small amount of skim cheddar, cooked in olive oil, served with salsa.

For dinner, we had a smoked salmon and goat cheese pasta:
It was loaded up with broccoli, cauliflower, red pepper, celery, green onion and mushrooms.

"Wow," you're thinking, "Aside from the booze, she eats disgustingly healthy."

But you would be wrong. For I have not yet mentioned The Snacks. I am a big snacker. And snacking made me big! Being aware that I love my snacks, I stock the house with relatively healthy things that I don't feel bad about having in small quantities.

Of course, there's Tuesday, the aforementioned poker night with the guys. I have to be conscious of my portions and limit myself to a couple of small handfuls. This is typical: Chips!
Poppycock (caramel corn with cashews)!Pringles! (note they are reduced fat - I bought those)

And finally:Thanks, Tony, for always bringing some yummy grapes.

I do eat lots of fruit as snacks: Asian pears, strawberries, grapes, pomegranates (they're in season right now), but I do like a variety. This is what I ate this week:
I ate a lot more nuts than that - I usually have about 6 almonds, cashews and walnuts a day. Throw in a Babybel Light cheese here, some Lindt dark chili chocolate there, a handful of Crisy Minis rice cakes, some Guiltless Gourmet Mucho Nacho Chips, and of course, my old friend:
Popcorn! I eat a bowl like that about twice a week. That's 1/2 real butter and 1/2 olive oil.

I do eat my snacks in moderation, but a night doesn't go by that I don't have something.

A couple of notes: This menu works for me and my lifestyle. I'm not trying to tell you how to eat, just showing what I eat. I also do a lot of exercise in a week. In addition to my walking four days a week, I walk 8K to my WW meeting, play a 2 hour game of Ultimate, and do a 1 hour speed walk. I also often shop for 4-5 hours (that counts as exercise!). I'm also maintaining my weight - not trying to lose. When I need to drop a couple of pounds, I eat more fruit and popcorn when I snack, and try to avoid processed food. I very much try to eat as much plain food as I possibly can. It's worked for me.

I learned: I don't like recording my snacks! That's the area that always comes back to bite me...what a surprise.

Whew! Well, there you have it. That's a typical week for me. I hope it was as illuminating for you as it was for me.

14 comments:

  1. I am inspired and I need to be. I am 5'3" and I weigh 180. Most on top, yesterday I went shopping, regular xl doesn't fit and Lane Bryant is huge. I have done WW before, but I have never really stuck to it, my problem is that I am Carb queen. I am going to start writing things down again, and use someof your food ideas, as I always think I have to starve to lose weight. thanks for the inspiration!

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  2. That is very inspiring that you not only worked so hard to lose the weight, but have successfully kept it off for a good while. I think WW is such a smart training program. My mom has done it, and I'm thinking of doing an online membership.

    Carby snacks are my downfall too.

    I am amazed that you walk so far to work every day! Well done.

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  3. OHhhhh,that was a hard job, thank you Sheila for this post-I'm so so grateful for that..!!!! I have to excuse myself for this request, actually I didn't realize how much work you'll have with it!!!

    First, I'll have to chew this post from the first letter to it's last one, then I'll probably have to rethink my meals, quantities and cuisine!:-)
    Hungarian(Yes!:-))traditional kitchen is so much differrent to the others!(too much sugar, meat, grease and pasta..)
    Personally, I am fine with the outmeal, salads, fruits, carrots and cukkini...not to mention the chili noir chocolate(as I saw, is the same brand as mine(Lindt):-), but have a husband and daughter who unfortunately do not always share my prefferences...:-((

    I also realized I can't ever have all of your stuff for a day, cause I do not move my bones half the time you do...but I'm on the good way with the FW, I think...So, thank you so so much for the help and inspiration...!!!

    +++What a great thing this blogging is, to find fellow mates over the seas!!!

    Cheers, and have a wonderful week,:-))
    /Lyn/

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  4. That is so brilliant. Thanks for taking the time and trouble. Ilost weight with Weight Watchers after my second and fourth pregnancies and the plan really works.I am amazed at the variety of your diet. Fabulous.

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  5. This is so wonderfully detailed and HONEST - thank you from all of us! Completely fascinating to see how we struggle with food habits and cravings which are so very different for each of us. I have little interest in snacks, but crave variety at every meal and endless bread rice pasta potatoes yum.

    This would be such a good exercise for ALL of us, to really understand why we eat what we do. Thank you again for the inspiration!

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  6. wow that's pretty awesome! losing weight and keeping it off is certainly a commitment. i lost 15 pounds recently and have done well keeping it off too. but i watch my weight, weighing in regularly, and always getting back on the healthy bandwagon whenever I slip. this post was very inspiring. thank you for sharing!

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  7. Thank you for an awesome post! I found your blog because fo the fashion, but I have always been interested in your weight loss journey.

    I've lost 60 pounds and have 20 more to go (170/230, goal of 150). I was beginning to get distressed until I read your snacks.

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  8. LOL - your lunches look like mine!! Embarassingly massive but mostly because of all the fruit and veggies :). Anyone who thinks you have to starve to lose weight is sadly misinformed!

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  9. Wendy, if you're in town, you can eat at my house.

    Thanks, Tessa! It has worked really well for me.

    Lesa, thank you so much, that means a lot to me - to help inspire other people to get healthy is part of my ongoing reward for keeping the weight off. I love the carbs too, but they are like an addiction! I try to eat as much whole grain carbs as I can. If you can't write down, try photographing. And please, DON'T starve yourself - you need to feed your body. Take care of yourself - you can do it!

    Thanks, Kari. Easily, keeping it off is the hardest part. WW has really taught me a lot about my relationship with food, and I think for many women, that's a huge thing. Popcorn is the best carby snack. My walk to work doesn't feel like exercise anymore - it's transportation!

    Thanks, Lyne, yes, it took a long time. :) Just try to eat more whole food, less processed, less packaged...and eat smaller portions of it. Lots of variety, and lots of fruits and veggies, lean protein and complex carbs (and low-fat dairy if you like it), are the key. I've had Hungarian food - it's delicious, but very fatty! You can look online for recipes that your family might like - and even try making lower fat versions or healthier versions of the foods make now. And if you can get yourself moving on top of all that, you'll be well on your way. I know you can do it!

    Jane, thank you. It was worth it for me to do this exercise, to really be confronted with what I eat and my eatting patterns. I try to eat as many different foods as I can.

    Roberta, thank you! Yes, it's so amazing what a complex relationship we all have with food. You're very welcome.

    Eednic, thank you! Good for you! That is a huge deal to keep off such a big loss. You sound like you have a good attitude about it too.

    Thanks for your kind words, Lain! Although I've always loved clothes and fashion, it's has only really been since I gained the confidence from getting healthy that I've really been able to express myself through fashion. To me, they are intrinsically entwined. Your own journey is amazing - good for you! What a huge way you've come! Ha, I knew I'd fool some people - I'm human! I snack on junk!

    Sherylyn, Cat always mentioned that when she talked about you, that you did a huge lunch. I eat more now than I did when I was heavy - we know that's how you've got to do it: fuel the machine!

    Thanks, FA.

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  10. This is amazing; I really appreciate you putting it all together and being so honest and detailed about what you eat. I've been struggling a lot lately with getting into regular rhythms for lunches and snacks, and you've given me some great ideas.

    The thing that amazes me the most is the *volume* of food you eat; I did Core a while ago so I get the concept of eating healthier foods means you can eat more of them, but seeing all those fruits and veggies laid out in your daily intake drives that point home like nothing else.

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  11. Thanks so much, Kristen. I find that if I keep a large portion of my weekly intake the same and full of good foods(breakfast and lunch), then I have a bit more room for treats and higher calorie items.

    Yes, the volume is still amazing to me - I really do eat all of that! I do a modified Core: I have my 35 flex points, and my 28 Maintenance points, and I only track non-Core items now. I still mark off my water, fruits/veggies, dairy and oils every day (I use a little sheet I made up for myself that covers a whole week).

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Cheers,
Sheila