Rethinking your weight loss lifestyle. It's not a diet, it's a way of life. That's the way one must go about rethinking their weight loss lifestyle. It's what we need to do, day in and day out (with the occasional special occasion day).
When I wrote first wrote this in 2015, I had just made a delicious low-fat lunch of Beer Braised Mussels with Andouille Sausage. In that post, I told you that BB and I both got FitBits and had started tracking our food, activities, and weight. We both knew we had gained "some weight" but didn't realize how much until we stood on that dreaded scale. The numbers didn't lie. And as we started writing down, tracking all of our foods and beverages, we were shocked to find out where a lot of our calories were coming from. Mostly lunches out, but there was a fair amount of mindless snacking, mindless drinking, and just being mindless.
So I wrote this article and it all still holds true today. You don't need a no this, no that diet. You need to focus on Rethinking Your Weight Loss Lifestyle. And here's how to do it. For the long term.
Rule # 1 - Make a Food Log.
Yep, absolutely necessary for you to be brutally honest with yourself. What are you putting into your mouth? Every single bit counts because those small amounts end up adding up. Not quickly necessarily, but slowly, over time. And we all know that you must consume fewer calories then you use in order to lose weight. About 500 calories less per day then your allowed number based on height and weight just to lose a pound a week.
Now that you know that number you need to find the right place to keep track of what you are eating, and drinking. There are a number of great free resources for you to use to log your food, most of them have large databases of foods and their calories/fat/carbs/protein/sugar values. Of course, these databases of foods are mostly commercially prepared foods, fast food, and restaurant food. Good information to have at your fingertips before you order. Also one of the reasons I put nutritional information on almost all of my recipes. Because this is something you really need to know. No, not ALL of my recipes are low fat, low calorie, but many of them are and I will share some of those with you in a minute. And if they are not, it says so, right there in the nutritional box.
Don't want to track your weight and food on a website? A notebook will work just fine. But you do need to track, at least for a while.
Rule #2 - Get Moving
Even if you don't get a Fitbit, MisFit, Nike FuelBand or other new fangled tracking device, get yourself a plain old pedometer, and get out there and walk. The current craze is for 10,000 steps a day, but even if you don't get there, get somewhere. Park further away from the entrance to the grocery store, mall or your workplace. Going to the gym? Don't cruise the parking lot looking for a close spot, park away, and walk. It's what you are there for anyway right? Exercise? I find as I sit here writing, if I check my band and I see that I'm not getting my steps, it motivates me to get up and just walk around the yard, go check the mail, do something other than what I'm doing.
Along with that get moving part of the program, find the right time to exercise. I know that if I go downstairs and get on my computer, my day is pretty much shot until I look up and realize it's noon. So, hate it as much as I do, the only way I'm going to get my half-hour walk-in is first thing in the morning. Roll out of bed, tie on my tennies, and get moving. Coffee and computer later. Dinner, kids, homework, bath times, all those are the perfect excuse not to exercise. So find your time, and then stick to it.
And I'm not talking balls on heavy lifting make me sweat big time exercise, I'm just saying, let's start moving.
Rule # 3 - Be Patient with Yourself
You didn't put it on in a day, you aren't going to take it off in a day. This is probably the hardest part. We all want to find that magic pill that will make us skinny. There isn't one. You can cleanse and you will lose weight, generally fairly quickly. But you will put it back on once you go back to a regular eating habit. You know you can't live on a cleanse forever. You just can't. Nor can you just eat salads.
As you who read me know, I'm not into any radical approach to eating. All things in moderation is my motto. So I'm not cutting out carbs, fats, or eliminating any food group. But I will recognize how much of each I eat and try to keep it within reasonable limits. And if I want a bite of ice cream, I'll have one. But it will only be one or two, not the whole container.
So learn to put down the fork, or spoon, when your brain says "wow, that was really good'...
Rule # 4 - It's not a Diet, it's my new way of life
This has to be your mantra.
Diets are temporary.
Eating is forever.
You have to eat to live. Recognizing what you eat and how much is going to be a big revelation. But I'm still not going to eat mediocre food. I want delicious food. I can eat only so many salads, even with some great low-fat low-calorie dressing. I can't eat steamed broccoli and a baked tasteless chicken breast every night. No, I can't. No, I won't. No, I don't have to.
So here, for you, are some of my recipes that I'm cooking right now to keep us on track. Of course, they are From the Kitchen of LindySez, as it is my blog I'm trying to promote; but there are plenty of other, good tasting, creative, low-fat low-calorie recipes out there. Just try to keep your ratios around here for optimal health:
Protein - 10 - 35% of calories
Fat - 20 - 35% of calories
Carbs - 45 - 65 % of calories
Chicken is always a good place to start when looking to lose weight. Of course, that's skinless chicken as the skin has 85% of all the calories in it; and while breast meat is leaner than the dark thigh meat, 142 calories vs 180, it also doesn't give you as much nutritional punch. So if you are like me, and prefer using thigh meat in certain recipes, don't berate yourself. Just do it.
Let's start here:
With only 274 calories per serving, and 10 grams of fat, these easy wraps make a perfect lunch or light dinner.
191 calories and 2 (yes that's right 2) grams of fat, these are a delightful taste sensation any day. Even if you serve these with the Rice Noodle Salad with Mango Dressing (YUM) you still will be only at 484 calories and 7 grams of fat.
Not in the mood for an oriental dinner?
Super low-fat at only 5 grams fat and with only 270 calories, these make a delicious dinner for the whole family. Add some steamed brown rice at 204 calories, and steamed green beans at about 20 calories, and you have a well rounded, yet reasonable dinner. And on the table in about 30 minutes.
Chicken, of course, is not the only food you can eat.
Fish has excellent nutritional benefits as well as those all-important omega-3 acids. It's recommended that fish be incorporated into your diet 2 - 3 times per week, of course, only wild fish, please, unless it's been determined sustainable by FishWatch.gov or the Monterey Bay Aquarium SeafoodWatch.org.
A nutritional powerhouse of a meal! And still only 430 calories and 18 grams fat.
Quick, easy and delicious. 394 calories with 15 grams of fat, the combination of flavors are perfect to pair with a glass of red wine (120 calories extra). Add some steamed broccoli for a mere 50 calories and you have dinner.
A family favorite for sure. Chock full of healthy salmon, spinach and soba (buckwheat) noodles, this gluten-free soup is a winner at 304 calories and 4 grams of fat.
How about some lean pork?
Pork tenderloin is one of the leanest cuts of meat and can be used in so many ways.
One of my original "we need to lose our Tulsa weight" recipes, it's still a goody with only 333 calories and 8 grams of fat. And don't worry, the tequila, while it adds flavor, cooks off and won't get the kids drunk. Unless you give them a shot on the side (105 calories).
If you can't get out to your grill, you could make this on a grill pan, or cook it under the broiler. At only 159 calories and 4 grams of fat, it makes a great low-fat choice for dinner. Pair it up with a quick side of Spinach Sauté at 57 calories, or steamed broccoli, and you have healthy dinner on the table in short order.
Yes, even beef is allowed. Just watch which cuts you buy and how often you eat them. I love a slow braise and will probably ALWAYS have one, at least on occasion. Just not every day. If you are choosing a steak, tenderloin is your best option. If going out for a steak dinner, consider sharing a steak. You don't need more then 4 ounces anyway, and most all steakhouses minimum size is 8 ounces so it's easy to share (and if you get that 32 ounce, bone-in New York, just don't eat it all).
This dish fits the bill with only 481 calories (that includes 1 cup of steamed rice) and 16 grams of fat. So quick and easy, perfect for a weeknight dinner.
There are more low-fat, low-calorie recipes on site. These are just a few for now. Look for more as we continue into the year.
Brian and I have continued using our Fitbit's since this article was first published in 2015. Even with our many 5-course wine dinners throughout the years, we have been able to maintain our weight, by being aware of what we eat, AND keeping it lean at home. Since I wrote this, I have introduced many more low-fat, low-calorie dishes to the site. So check them out and please, eat good food, responsibly!
Here's to your good health.
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