Amid many things going wrong, there are so many things going right. And one of these things is my (God-given, I’m sure) ability to follow a nutrition plan for longer than three weeks, for once in my life.
I prayed so much to be able to have barriers and eat what’s healthy without eating out of emotion, and I feel like I’ve grown a lot in this area. And in growing in this area, I’m also shrinking in others. Namely, my waistline. 🙂
* cue confetti *
I started in June and had some successful weight loss, then summer came. Our goal for the extensive traveling this summer was simply not to gain. Since we only meet once a month (and over the summer it was 6 weeks), I had plenty of time to try and … not gain anything. Well, truthfully, I did try to lose.
What ended up happening was – my week following the 65 pre-teens around the Swiss Alps equalled loss. My first week and a half in the States where I was able to be very careful with what I ate equalled loss. Then all the huge portions of restaurant food and all the things I wanted to taste over the remaining portion of the trip, and the jet lagged week that followed, equalled gain. Huge gain – or so it seemed to me. Then I had a couple days back on track before I met with the nutritionist, and found that fortunately the two extremes equalled out, and I was where I had been when we last met.
So, since the beginning of June – even with a few days (or even weeks) of throwing it all in the wind and eating anything and everything, I’ve lost about 22 lbs. And what’s even more exciting is that I want to get back into it each time I fall into old, unhealthy habits. This never happened before. It’s a miracle for me.
So I thought I’d share what my nutritionist recommended, and what I’m doing, and if it inspires you, then great!
Breakfast. Two pieces of buttered toast (gluten-free for me, of course), a 2% yoghurt with a teaspoon of sugar or jam (I use Splenda), and a piece of fruit. You can substitute the yoghurt for a glass of milk if you need coffee with milk. I like mine black if it’s strong enough.
I much prefer the gluten-free version of whole-grain bread, but the store was out. So I got the pasty white stuff.
Lunch. Half a plate of vegetables. Anything goes, except peas, corn and potatoes. And lettuce is not enough – if you’re having lettuce you need to have more substantial vegetables with it.
Then 150 grams (5.3 oz) of cooked starch – any kind except bread. Rice, potatoes, corn, lentils or beans (yes those are considered starch, not protein), pasta, millet, quinoa, etc.
150 grams (5.3 oz) of protein. This can be meat, fish, eggs, or a soy product. She does recommend keeping the more fatty meats (lamb and marbled steak) to once a week and focusing on the more lean meats. I don’t think too hard about it, though. I just always eat what’s on hand, weigh the amount, and with that I still manage to lose weight.
Finally, add to that another 2% yoghurt with a teaspoonful of sugar (or Splenda, or jam), and a piece of fruit.
Okay, here (photo above) is a real meal – not a “pretty for the camera” meal. The millet and potatoes were both leftover, and together they weighed 150 grams. It looks like more because I added fried mushrooms (a vegetable). And then there’s broccoli, fresh tomato, and steak. (Also shown is the yoghurt and fruit, although I could have swapped the piece of fruit for some dark chocolate).
One of the things I like about her plan is that my 150 grams can be any type of protein and starch, including leftovers. And I can eat what the family is eating (not specially prepared low fat). I can even make dishes with sauce. I explained about that below under Additions.
Snack. 1 piece of toast with jam, and a 2% yoghurt (with jam, sugar or Splenda). This makes sense in France where dinner is eaten at 7 or 8pm. I think if I were in the States, I might either take a snack at 3pm and try and eat dinner at 6:30, or eat dinner at 5pm and take my snack later at night. But in that case, I might have the bread with dinner and use my starch portion for the snack – like have 100 grams of oatmeal and a cup of milk with a teaspoon of sugar, for instance.
I usually have another coffee with this, but it was hot and I had diet coke instead.
Dinner. Exactly like lunch, except the starch is reduced to 100 grams cooked (3.5 oz).
By the time I got back from the parent-teacher meeting at the junior high (3 hours !!!!! of meetings in a sweltering gym, then sweltering classroom as each teacher presented their subject matter), there was no daylight left. So this photo doesn’t look as appetizing as it tasted. Stir-fried zucchini, 100 grams of rice, salmon, and 30 grams of parmesan sprinkled over the top (instead of yoghurt). I’m drinking alcohol-free white wine.
A word on the protein. She recommended having fatty fish (salmon, tuna, eel, trout) twice a week, and lean fish (white or seafood) twice a week. She also recommended having eggs twice a week – 2 eggs is one portion.
A word on the amounts. She put 100-150 grams of protein for lunch, and you can even reduce it to 60-130 grams if you find it’s too much. You can also reduce the starch to 130 grams for lunch if it’s too much. I have yet to do that, but I’m working towards it because I often can’t finish what’s on my plate.
A word on the yoghurt. The ingredients on the yoghurt in France is pretty much half-cream milk (which is 2%), bacteria, and … their might be some milk protein or something. I had trouble finding yoghurt in the States that tasted the same. But it shouldn’t have anything but milk products and bacteria (no corn starch, for instance).
SOME OTHER STUFF TO KNOW
Additions. 4 tablespoons of oil, butter, cream, or sauce per day. One of those portions is used up for the butter at breakfast. I use the others for salad dressing or oil to cook the meat, or gravy, or sour cream for the fish, or butter / olive oil for the vegetables and starch. Sometimes I’ll use it for coconut milk in curry, or commercially prepared spaghetti or pesto sauce.
Substitutes. I can swap soy yoghurt for dairy, and I often do that because I find too much dairy does not agree with me. Three times a week I can swap a fruit out for two small squares of chocolate – or, if you’re a fan (I’m not) for Nutella for the toast at snack time. After the first month, I could even have ice cream as much as 5x a week – one scoop swapped out with the fruit and yoghurt portion of meal. I didn’t do it that often, but it was nice knowing I could.
If you drink alcohol, you can swap one glass/beer for a fruit portion. I don’t need to with alcohol-free wine because it’s only 4 calories a glass. But for the alcohol-free and gluten-free beer, I swap out a fruit.
Finally, one of those 4 yoghurts per day can be (perhaps even should be) cheese. 30 grams (1 oz). Full fat normal cheese. Sometimes it’s a wedge of camembert. Sometimes I choose grated parmesan or swiss – or cheddar for the broccoli.
Don’t forget. Those 8 glasses of water a day, and gym twice a week. For the gym I usually do a half-hour to 40 minutes of cardio machines, and about 10 minutes of weights. Or I do a 45 minute class of aqua gym. Even walking 2x a week for 45 minutes would be enough. It just has to be twice and has to get your heart rate up.
Most important. I have to count to three before I take another bite. This is a concrete action plan that’s much easier for me than counting each bite or putting the fork down in between bites. At the beginning, I felt like it took forever to finish my meal. Now I need to wait those 3 seconds because it’s the time it takes for the food to make it’s way down, and it’s uncomfortable to take another bite while that’s happening.
You can get a printable form of the portions by clicking here.
I think this is one reason it’s easy for me to pick back up again when I’ve had a couple of bad days (or weeks). Some of those habits have stayed with me even when not eating correctly. That – and I really like the breakfast so I’m usually motivated to start the day right.
That’s it. I only weigh myself at her office, once a month and forget about it in between, except for my increasingly comfortable clothing (and self-esteem). After the first month, she taught me to add in pizza, quiche, lasagna, nuts, cookies and cakes, and the ice cream (which I already mentioned). I can share those with you if you’re interested, and plan to include some of the quiche recipes.
And after the second month she has me paying attention to my habits. Am I hungry before each meal? Did I eat slowly – the 3 seconds between bites? Do I have the sensation of being satisfied, but not stuffed after the meal?
As I mentioned above, I’m supposed to be reducing the quantity to 130 grams of starch, and maybe only 60-100 grams protein at night. I find I can’t do that yet because I’m afraid of being hungry (not good! she says). But I often don’t finish what’s on my plate, so I’m not forcing it.
Most of all, I’m content not to have my eating all over the place. It’s all about those blessed boundaries that I’m clamouring after when I used to kick against them. Boundaries are so, so good.
Like a city whose walls are broken through
is a person who lacks self-control. (Pr 25:28)
If you have a question and this post is more than a week old, will you leave it in the comment box? I don’t get notified of FB comments.
Do you have a healthy eating plan you’re happy with?