Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Changing Your Habits Rather Than Dieting

My weight is a very accurate reflection of my food intake. When I eat Amy's ice-cream three nights a week (plus black bean nachos at the Hobbit and creamy jalapeno sauce from Chuy's and vegetable korma from Madras Pavilion and salsa verde deep dish from Star Pizza), I gain weight.

And why would I eat like that?
  1. It tastes really good (like, really, really good).
  2. I am an emotional eater. I eat when I'm stressed or bored or generally seeking to feed some psychological hunger.
January, February, and March have proven to be rather stressful months. And, as a result, my clothes are getting tighter, my runs are getting jigglier, and my chin is doubling. I personally feel unhealthy.

But I am not a big fan of diets. Maybe it's because my mom tries diet after diet to deal with her obesity. She sets up really restrictive parameters for herself, does a good job of reigning herself in for a week or so, and then starts to stray.

Instead, I believe in lifestyle changes. I believe we should lose weight gradually by changing our habits, so we have a better chance of keeping off the weight. Losing weight isn't a goal you can work toward, achieve, and be done with. You have to maintain that weight loss on a daily basis.

And I definitely need to change my habits. Don't get me wrong; I'm not being completely self-deprecating. I have plenty of healthy habits (e.g., like drinking primarily water, avoiding heavily processed foods, and generally staying away from fast food, unless I am on a road trip and I am lured in by Burger King's veggie burger).

But I have fallen prey to some bad habits these past few months: eating out too frequently (and eating too much), eating Amy's ice-cream more than once a week, and not exercising consistently.

I've read that one should eat healthily about 85% of the time. If I eat three meals a day, seven days a week, for a total of 21 meals, then three of those meals don't have to be healthy (that's about 14%). Technically, I could eat black bean nachos, quesadillas, and vegetable korma and still be okay as long as I eat well for every other meal (which means no unhealthy leftovers for lunch!). I also need to limit my ice-cream intake to once per week. Plus, I need to commit to consistent exercise.

Of course it's easier said than done. It takes more time and thought for me to be healthy, but it's worth it.

Here's what's on the docket this week:
  1. Sushi (avocado + cucumber + carrot). It is surprisingly easy to make. I just follow the tutorials on the internet (although I don't even use a bamboo mat).
  2. Homemade black bean nachos with homemade quacamole and salsa (inspired by Sara's recipe over at Transitory Enchanted Moment). We had these a couple weeks ago and they were divine.
  3. Pizza (with ready-made dough from the pizza counter at Whole Foods).
  4. Falafel + hummus (the falafel recipe is from the Student's Vegetarian Cookbook and the hummus recipe is from Alice Water's The Art of Simple Food)
Breakfast = vanilla yogurt + banana + ice blended into a smoothie (with homemade yogurt in the crock pot from this recipe). I'm excited!

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Anonymous said...

great post! i read a scary article on wedding weightloss, and i'm not even ABOUT to go down that path. i'm generally a thin person. i played soccer for years, and once i stopped, i lost muscle mass and my clothes, too, started fitting a bit tighter in the tummy (but looser in the thighs.) my love handles got bigger, and i'm starting to have body conscious issues. i dress accordingly, and sometimes feel better, but i'm like you...i just feel unhealthy.

but i'm also the laziest person ever. i hate to exercise, but i'm pep-talking myself for that. i've decided to run on the beach with a soccer ball, it's more of a game that way. i did cut from sodas to diet sodas to water, and i eat yogurt and subway and very few sweets. not a whole lot has happened in the 2 months...so i need to be a self starter and just go do it. wish me luck! and good luck to everyone else who is trying to get healthy!

Kaitlin Wainwright said...

awesome! i`ve been "dieting" for the past three weeks now, but i don`t see it as dieting. i see it as "kaitlin is no longer making unhealthy choices all the time". or something. and yes, that means no more muffin and latte breakfasts. but thanks for the kickstart this morning :D

Bobbi said...

But... I love creamy jalepeno dressing on my salads. :)

Alison said...

Oh man, I soooo feel you on this one right now! When we got back from being overseas 2 weeks ago I gave myself a week to indulge in everything I had missed while we were gone for a year... cue Alison eating half a chocolate cake. Pretty sure I gained some weight!

Now, I'm back on track. I am doing Weight Watchers, but only because it's the only program I've found that helps me focus on portion control and getting in fruits/veggies/dairy/water, etc. I've also been hitting the gym and walking the dog. I always kick myself, because I KNOW eating well and being active make me feel better and less stressed, and yet I let it slip all. the. time. Sigh. Good luck this week, though, I know you can do it!

Sharpiegirl said...

I have been backsliding the last few weeks. Due to stress I'm sure.
My biggest weakness is the alcohol. I do luv me a cold beer when I get home followed by a glass of wine (or more likely 2)with Dinner. Or if D's playing a show that night I have dinner and drinks while he's playing. I tried switching to the really light beers but that isn't working either.
Diet's don't work for me either. I just have to force myself to make a better choice (kashi for breakfast, yogurt instead of milk, veggies and lean proteins). It's boring sometimes not getting to go out to eat for lunch but I can't be trusted to eat healthy when I do. It will be worth it.

CB said...

Ugh, I don't know about you but I feel like I go around and around with this stuff. I'm pretty active but my eating can get out of control. Dang food and it's deliciousness!

Diets - even the sensible ones - just consume too much mental energy for me. And they make me think about food too much (which is part of my problem anyway). I studied nutrition in unviersity, I should be able to make good choices on my own. Maybe I should have studied psychology so that I'd have some will power!

tamara s. said...

Great post, Sarah! I too am an emotional eater and an ice-cream lover --- so, I totally related to your post!
My husband and I just returned from a fun, and very food-filled, vacation to Mexico (yum!), and we're taking this week to reassess our health goals and make meal plans that will help us feel healthy again. Your hummus and falafel night sounds great --- we do that too, and some nights I trade the falafel for a super easy and yummy tabouli salad (particularly good during the hotter months): one package of whole wheat cous-cous, one cucumber, three tomatoes, one can of garbanzo beans, one can black olives, the juice of two or three lemons (or limes if you prefer), a bunch of cilantro (or parsely if you prefer), half of a large red or white onion, three or four cloves of garlic (we love garlic), a few tablespoons of olive or grapeseed oil (don't need as much if you use plenty of lime/lemon juice), a dash of salt, a dash of freshly ground pepper, and your done! I chill it in the fridge for about a half an hour, then we smear the inside of a whole-wheat pita with some hummus, stuff the pita with some tabouli salad, sprinkle on a tad of fresh feta cheese, and there you go. This is the type of salad that just keeps getting better with each day in the fridge, so I tend to make a big batch for Sunday dinner and then we eat the leftovers all week for lunch. SO good!

Marian said...

I have strong feelings regarding dieting. I, too, am an emotional/overeater. I love food. I have recently realized and accepted that food is not something to be afraid of and that no matter what or how much or for what reasons we eat we should not beat ourselves up or feel guilty about it. I have also begun to recognize and analyze my reasons for eating. I'm also learning to recognize when I'm hungry and what it is I'm hungry for.

I learned all of this by reading a book that I highly recommend to anyone who's tired of the diet industry and tired of feeling pressured to fit into an idealized stereotype that realistically only about 5% of women fall under. The book is When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies. An excellent woman strong, thought, and food positive book.

Food is not our enemy. As stated in the book How much energy would we have as women if we stopped obsessing over our bodies? We would take over the world.

I actually wrote a post that talked a bit about this. I think I'm going to go write another.

lauren said...

Thanks for posting the crock pot yogurt recipe! Now I just need to find a used crock pot on Craigslist!

Becky said...

Oh man can I relate. I too am an emotional eater. Recently however I realized that I had better get a handle on my life. I have to give credit to Blair Singer's latest book, Little Voice Mastery" for helping me see that I needed to make a
life change. This book has taught me that it all starts and ends with me. I have been using some of the tools offered in his book now for two weeks and feel so much better about myself.

Download a free chapter from Blair Singer's book if you want some of the critical information that he shares. You'll see what differentiates Blair's work from everyone else that is out there. The more I use these tools the more successful I become - go figure! Don't think about it, "just do it" as they say.

MARBS said...

Burger King has a veggie burger? That rocks.

Leah said...

A good diet is a lifestyle change.

Just something like creating healthier meals, eating smaller servings, etc. That's dieting but it's a healthy and sustainable way to do it :) My mother lost 7kg in 7 weeks once just by eating smaller meals.

Anonymous said...

I can never stick to a diet, but I do like eating healthy. I try to make eating healthy a habit. I don't really keep sweets or "bad" food in my house. But when I go out to eat, which is maybe once a week, I'll have anything I want, dessert, nachos, whatevas. All I need to do now is get on an excercise plan because I'm really good at making excuses on that. Some ways I stay on the healthy path are going to farmer's markets. There is something nice about eating fresh food grown from your area. And I recently figured out that when I make ginger tea (grated frozen ginger root with hot water) after a meal, it staves off cravings and I go longer between meals. It's a natural appetite suppressant and is great for digestion.

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