Thursday, July 21, 2011

So What Do I Eat?

Many of you are asking, "So what did you eat to help you lose weight?" I wanted to put it down in writing here on the blog so everyone could soak it in. Before I went to Fitness Ridge I ate around 1,400 calories. These were calories I thought were good for me. After being at the Ridge though, I realize my balance and preparation was all wrong. I know a lot about eating healthy, but like most people I just put the knowledge on the back burner.

The meals we ate are both super nutritious and easy to prepare with most consisting of less that 8 ingredients. Many of the ground meat dishes incorporated veggies and brown rice so you save money on meat. For instance you make meatloaf, burgers, meatballs, and stuffed peppers with 99% lean ground turkey - 1 cup, 3/4 cup of chopped peppers and onions, 1/2 cup brown rice,1/4 cup of oatmeal, garlic powder, onion powder, s & p, and one egg. This will make enough food for 3 to 4 people. It is so filling, you never get hungry between meals.

Here is the basic plan:
Breakfast - 1/2 c. fresh fruit medley (watermelon, cantalope, blueberries, strawberries, or whatever is in season), One egg and one egg white scrambled with ww toast, OR one cup granola cereal with 1/2 cup almond milk OR a frittata with feta and veggies, OR one egg with a piece of turkey sausage and toast. Simply put, you had a fruit, a protein, and a good ww carb. This should be around 300 calories total. (Yes, it's important to count the calories)

Lunch - We always had 1 cup of a pureed soup. It can be made by boiling a vegetable of choice with one onion, garlic powder, onion powder, s & p, and vegetable or chicken broth, then put it in the blender. Next we would have a cup of salad with low cal dressing and an entree of a sandwich, or burrito, or tacos, or something like that. This should be around 400 calories total.

Supper - One meat of 3 oz. Chicken breast, salmon, ground turkey, or turkey cutlet (we never had beef), one cup of a vegetable, usually steamed. We did a rotation of broccoli, or carrots, or asparagus most nights. Chef used what was in season. And always dessert!!! This would keep you satisfied so your sweet tooth didn't go nuts! We had puddings, fruit skewers, and sorbets, and one time a week there was always dark choc. covered strawberries, two of them! Everyone's favorite;) The total for this meal would be around 500 calories.

Because we were there in the summer we would hike really early before it could get hot. We were on the vans by 6:30 and got back between 9:00 and 9:30 when we would have breakfast. Now I know you will think this is funny, but every morning I had 12 almonds and then went on the hike. Yes only 12!!! That's what they gave you and believe me - you really weren't hungry! It was amazing. Also you didn't feel stuffed out there hiking and with you doing it practically fasting, you were burning fat, not what you just ate! I would take a peeled orange when I started coming off my diabetic meds so if I got shaky (and I usually did)at the half way point I could eat it quickly. The almonds were not included in our 1,200 calories, but the orange was.

The mixture of food Chef Cameron prepared for us was sheer genius! I am a foodie and believe me - it was delicious, easy to prepare, and made so much sense. The breakfast was hearty. Lunch was filling because of the soup with it's water content and fiber, not to mention you got a whole plate of food after the soup, and dinner was delicious and settled your desire for sweets. The whole day of food was around 1,200 calories. After the first week I really had trouble eating it all. There were some guys there over 400 lbs, and they were full too. So don't tell yourself you couldn't live on this, because we all did! And we were doing 7 1/2 hours of exercise a day too! Now, when you get home they tell you to eat around 1,400 calories until you hit your goal and then move to what will maintain you.

So now you are asking, "How the heck am I going to fit all this cooking into my already packed day!" Answer: Budget your time. You have to cook anyway, so make multiple portions and freeze it, or make it and use it to make several dinners. As in, meatballs, stuffed peppers, burgers, and meatloaf. Presto - your whole week in main courses! Add a veggie and a dessert and you are good. If you want to do this you have to do three things. Budget your time to exercise, budget your time to shop and cook well, and journal your calories in/calories out so you know you have a deficit each day. This is the only way you will lose.

For every pound you lose you must have a deficit of 3,500 calories. That's a lot of calories. Fortunately, our body burns calories every minute of every day. This is called our RMR, or Resting Metabolic Rate. Drs use this to determine how many calories to feed you if you are in a coma. A 400 lb man would require more calories in his feeding tube than a 120 lb woman in a 24 hour period. Why? Because the man will burn more in his RMR. I know, it's not fair. You can Google RMR calculators and plug in your weight, age, sex, and height and it will tell you aproxamately what your body would burn. So you take your RMR and how many calories you burn during exercise and add those two up. That's what you burned for the day. Then you take what you ate and subtract it. If you burned more than you ate, you have a deficit. You keep track of it and when you reach a deficit of 3,500 you should see a lb lost on the scales. This system works! It is the only thing I have found in my life that works for weight loss. Yes, there are meal plans, and shakes and other things, but it all works on this principle: Calories in/Calories out. If you don't burn more than you eat, you will not lose. So my greatest finding in all of this is at Fitness Ridge you got more bang for your buck! More food for the calories is always a good thing. That way you were never hungry, or constapated, or bloated, or anything. Add all that exercise and you got a jump start that would help you control the way you ate. But I can't stress this enough: You CAN do this at home!!! You can do this on your own. If you follow the rules, you get the results.

Some helpful tools: Chef Cameron Payne's cookbooks. He has two and they are $30 each or two for $56, yes you will spend more than that at Starbuck's this month, so don't even go there! A calorie counting app for your phone or a good old book if you aren't tech savy. A scale to weigh your food and measuring cups. A plan. This my friends is key!!! Write down what you are going to fix to eat for a week or two. Write down what you are going to do exercise wise. Even if all you can do is walk to your mailbox, that's a start. Then tomorrow check your mail twice, then 3 times;) Keep moving forward. When you feel comfortable walking a couple of miles, throw in a jog, then up the time. Buy some weights and look on line to see exercises you can do with them. Schedule yourself for a 5K!!! Hello!!! Big motivator;) Yes you can walk the whole darn thing if you want. They don't care. Check out for races near you. It's listed in the race locator section.

Eat less, move more. A pretty good slogan. Isn't your life worth it? Come on, we all deserve to be fit and happy. Now that I'm more fit, I'm more happy. I'm happy with my smaller body, and smaller clothes. I'm happy to not have to spend $350 a month on medicine. I just happy not to have to take the meds altogether. Who wouldn't be. I used to watch Biggest Loser and cry when the contestants went to Dr. H and took them off their medicine. Now I cry because it's me;) I'm also happy not to feel tired and yucky and get headaches everyday. Join me in my happiness. Misery loves company, but happy people live longer!

One final note. For whatever reason, Google won't let me post on my own blog. I've tried everything and still no results. So, if you post, I do get it and would love to answer you back or encourage you or thank you, but I can't. If you want to dialog with me, friend me on facebook. I'm listed as Dawn Taylor Mathews. It's been good sharing this journey with you so far. I will still be posting, so check in with me from time to time. God bless you in whatever you do because you can and you are worth it!

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