Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Secret No. 14: I have totally random rules for weight loss

I do. I promise though these are the ones that do NOT include a stomach virus of any kind.

It should be noted before I spill this little gem that I am NOT a nutritionist, dietitian, doctor or medical professional of any sort and that you should consult your own medical professional before undertaking this or any sort of weight loss program. Not that this is necessarily a weight loss program. It really truly is exactly what it says in the title: totally random made up rules that I have for myself when I’m trying to lose weight. Some of them are of my own design, others I’ve picked up from magazine or internet articles that caught my eye, and others are tips that I’ve gotten from friends or family members or eavesdropping on strangers (what? Like you’ve never  Smile with tongue out).

Wherever they came from, they sounded good enough to give a shot and that’s just what I did. So on the off chance that some crazy random thing I’ve been doing might help another mother runner out, I figured I’d share. Well, that and I’ve been asked a bunch recently.

So here goes, apply entirely at your own risk. I assume no responsibility for your weight loss, gain, stagnation or your morphing into a llama.

In no particular order, (except perhaps for how they occur in my head), I give you…

My Totally Random Rules for Weight Loss

#1 Eat better. I know right, rocket science right there. Excuse me for being blunt here, but I refuse to believe any one of us are not intelligent enough to know what’s good for us and what’s not. I mean come on. You don’t have to be a member of Mensa to know that deep fried butter on a stick or a bacon cheeseburger sandwiched between two glazed donut buns is not the best choice for healthy living (I think I just threw up in my mouth a little. Line anyone?).

Sure, we might get confused a little when it comes to some of the jargon (fat? carbs? calories? glycemic index? say what?), but ultimately, we’re not stupid. We all know fruits and veggies are good and most sweets and highly processed foods are not so much. So rule #1 for me when I get serious about losing weight is to just not kid myself, cut out those unhealthy choices that I KNOW are not good for me and eat better.

#2 **SIGH** Plan your meals. I know, I know…what a pain in the you know what! I swear though, this is HUGE. I started doing this awhile back and I honestly, don’t think I could function now without doing so. Not only is it a great way to  help you lose weight, because you’ll always have the ingredients on hand for a healthy meal since you’ve planned it that way, but it’s also a great way to reduce waste, cut back on expenses, and save time too. You’ll throw away far less expired food because you bought exactly what you need (plus maybe a little extra in case of emergencies) and it’ll all get used up in the meals you’ve planned for the week. You’ll save money because you won’t be buying food that you just wind up throwing away. And you’ll cut back on your shopping time because when you go into the store, you’ll have a list in hand. No standing there staring at the shelves pondering what you should make for dinner that week in the store with an infant tired of being in her car seat and a three year old randomly removing and/or inserting items into your cart. So here’s what I do (and I promise you it’s worth the 10-15 minutes it takes to do this):
A) Decide what I want to make for the week. I really like the Kraft Foods website because there’s sooooo many recipes on there that are quick and simple and it’s really easy to alter them to make them healthy if they’re not already (this, for example, that I made tonight was pretty healthy in and of itself and quite tasty I might add). When I’m deciding what to make, I always keep in mind our schedules. Mondays are super busy for us and by Friday I’m just tired of cooking. So Mondays, I usually make something in the crock pot in the morning before the day gets crazy and Friday I plan on leftovers (which means Wednesday or Thursday’s meal has to be big enough to provide them). I also usually plan on making the meals with fresh fruits & veggies I buy early in the week before they go bad and the canned or frozen near the end.  That way, we’ve always got some on our plates.
B) Make my shopping list accordingly. Based off of the meals I just decided I was going to make.
C)(And this is where the crazy sets in Winking smile ) I rewrite that shopping list in the order I’m going to shop in the store. This takes me all of two minutes and I do it for two reasons. First of all, there’s an off chance (extreme longshot) I can get my husband to go to the store for me. If he does, he doesn’t know where everything is the way I do and I like to make it as painless as possible so that he’s more apt to do it again. An ordered list accomplishes this. Secondly, if it IS me going to the store, I want to get in and out as fast as possible (I loathe grocery shopping). Running back and forth across the store because I didn’t see something on my list is NOT going to make that happen, not by a long shot.  
#3 Make your plate pretty. Not just because it’ll be aesthetically pleasing and more appetizing (and hey let’s face it,  healthy food can use all the appeal it can get right?), but if you have a goal to make what’s on your plate colorful that means you’ve been FORCED to include what? That’s right my magnificent mamas….fruits and veggies!

#4 Mix it up. Because nobody wants to eat the same stuff over and over again. Well, that and if you do, if you vary the types of foods on your plate, then you’re getting varied nutrients as well. Our bodies function best when we get ALL the Nutrients we need. And you know what that leads to right? Better race times Smile! Nobody knows this better than my vegetarian and/or vegan friends. They’ve become creative masters in the kitchen in order to meet all their nutritional requirements while at the same time having significantly reduced their options for how to meet those needs. I frequently am in awe.

#5 The Portion Police. Remember when we were kids and we were told, “finish everything on your plate.” We might even tell our kids that same thing now. I do sometimes. The only difference is the portions on my children's plates have been carefully chosen in order to create the least amount of waste while still giving them at least SOME of those nutrients that they’d really prefer not to eat. Which means, my 6 year is going to get 3 green beans, cut in half and my 3 year old is going to get one segment of an orange cut into 3 pieces (we eat our ages around here. I don’t know why, but that seems totally logically to each of my children. I am 6 so I must eat 6 pieces, bites or whatever).

THEY would be perfectly content to eat nothing until it showed up covered in chocolate if I let them. Whereas, I, on the otherhand, would be perfectly happy to go right ahead and pack that plate of mine tight, pile it high and eat every bite of whatever we’re eating most nights. The problem is I’ve got to eat less calories then I burn if I want to lose weight and massive portions don’t fit neatly into that scenario…or my stomach for that matter. So instead I try to limit myself to reasonably sized portions. If you need a little help determining what this is for you, there’s some great tools to help you at (FYI: My Plate is the updated version of the food pyramid. Apparently, somebody finally realized we are actually eating off plates and are not, in fact, dining on pyramids. Genius. Pure genius.)

#6 Whoa. Where’s the fire? Slooooooooow down there speedy. This one’s tough for me because I know that the minute I set the plates on the table, it’s on. “Mommy, may I please have a drink?” “Mommy, I spilled my milk!” “Mommy, I dropped my fork.” “Mommy, I can’t find my grapes.” “Mommy, she took my strawberries!” “Mommy, she’s wearing noodles on her head!” “Mommy, she keeps touching me with her foot!” And on and on and on it goes. So I think perhaps it’s at least a little understandable that when MY plate is in front of me, I sort of feel as if I have to eat in a manner which might score me a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. I’m scarfing it down as quickly as possible with the fear that if I don’t,  I’m not going to get to eat at all. I’ll be too busy dealing with all the “Mommy!”s to have an actual meal myself. Unfortunately, we can’t digest on impact. So if I do eat as quickly as possible, to get it in while I can, I’m probably STILL going to feel hungry and I’m likely to eat more than I really need, albeit quickly, in order to make myself not so. But what to do right? The little ones are gonna be little ones and you’ve got to eat sometime.

Here’s my trick: I eat while I get dinner ready. Now, I’ve actually seen this listed before as something you should NOT do if you’re trying to lose weight, but I’m pretty sure the people who wrote that article have never met my little ones and it’s highly likely they don’t have any of their own or if they do, their children are not so little anymore and they’ve forgotten what it’s like. So in between helping with homework, monitoring the Tiger’s destructive tendencies, soothing the baby who’s just learned to roll over but is not entirely happy about this new found skill, AND making dinner, I’m eating, little bits here and there. Bonus for me if once dinner is done, all the kiddos, including the big one I sometimes refer to as my husband, are distracted and I can snag myself a few bites of the finished meal before I set it on the table. By doing this, I get a chance to eat a little slower, eat my food at the temperature it was designed to be eaten (hot foods hot, cold foods cold) and when/if I finally do sit down, I’m not starving and can then finish my dinner eating like a reasonable person rather someone who’s just say, finished a marathon perhaps (although, that’s probably not really a good example. I’m never hungry right after a marathon. Childbirth maybe? I’m always famished after that.)

#7 Speaking of starving, have a little snack will ya? Starving is not good. Starving is when we get desperate and will put whatever we can get our hands on into our mouth and we’ll eat it as quickly as is humanely possible. This almost always results in way more than we intended and quite frequently in eating foods we probably shouldn’t have. So don’t be afraid to have a few little snacks throughout the day to ward off those hunger pangs. Just try to make those snacks healthy ones, rather than M&M’s and Oreos.

#8 But if it’s M&M’s and Oreos you’re really craving, INDULGE! That’s right. You read that correctly. My weight loss tip to you is to eat M&M’s and Oreos. Look, we all have our weaknesses. Mine are cheese and chocolate (but generally not together…unless we’re talking cheesecake. That’s entirely different story.) I am not good when I attempt to give up some kind of food entirely. Inevitably, this results in a major crash and burn that winds up being a complete and utter binge on whatever it is that I’ve given up. It just does, at least for me. Maybe you are a total master of self control and can do that. If so, you are awesome! I applaud you, but for the rest of us frail human beings, I suggest a little indulgence every once in awhile to satisfy that craving rather than blowing your diet completely. But the key word here is LITTLE. See rule #9 for help on keeping little, well, little.

#9 PUT. The bag. Back! (If you did not just read that in your best Frau Blucher from Young Frankenstein voice, please try again. Otherwise, this rule won’t work) When you do decide to give in to that sweet tooth(or salty or whatever that achilles heel of yours happens to be) take it out of it’s original container & take out an actual snack size portion. Then walk away man! Walk. Away. One cookie rather than an entire package, a small sliver of leftover birthday cake rather than the entire leftover third, a handful (or ok two) of chips. Do not, I repeat DO NOT by any means take the entire container of your yummy goodness to wherever you’ll be going to consume it. It is FAR harder to resist the temptation to eat more when it is sitting in your lap. Put the bag back. Go somewhere else and promise yourself you can have another little snack at a later date, but not tonight. Tonight you eat it and your done. Period.

#10) Keep a snack stash. In your car, in your purse, in your desk drawer at work, wherever, but if you keep good healthy snacks readily accessible, you’ll be far less likely to drive through that fast food joint on your way home from your daughter’s dance class or snag one of those office donuts just sitting there in its delightful scrumptiousness waiting for someone to claim it as their very own. Dried fruit, nuts, granola bars, pretzels, those are some of the things I like to keep stashed in my purse (ok let’s be real here…I don’t even carry a purse) diaper bag so that I can eat something quick on the fly and resist the temptation to eat something I that 15 minutes after I’ve finished, I’ll really wish I hadn’t.

And…that’s 10. And I’ve already written you a novel, but have so many more rules to share. Since I’m sure that’s not what you were looking for when you hopped on over here plus it’s already past 10:00 and I’ve got some runners to go coach still and a bed that’d really like to get slept in at some point, I’m going to leave it at that. Look for a few more rules later this week. (I know, I know, you’ll be on pins and needles waiting for the rest right?!) In the meantime, if you’ve got your own super amazing totally random weight loss rule you’d like to share with the rest of us, please do!

'Til next time...
P.S. If you were wanting to make an online donation to that pregnant MI runner mom who’s home was destroyed by a tornado last week, I’ve updated my post to include the link where you can do so. Scroll down to the bottom. It’s in the PS here.

P.P.S. Thought you all might like to see an updated version of the peanut, although, she’s not so peanut-like anymore. She’s 5 months and over 16lbs! Here’s a picture of her from St. Patrick’s day when she was attacked by leprechauns…
2012-03-17 15.48.40
Ok…you got me. It was her sisters who did that. Normally, I wouldn’t let them cover her in stickers (and trust me that was just the beginning), but she seemed to be enjoying it so that I went ahead and gave them the green light. Happy belated St Patrick’s Day!


runnanna said...

Great , realistic weight loss tips. BUT, as a Young Frankenstein expert, I must correct you. That was not Frau Blucher. That was Gene Wilder's lab assistant. I think her name was Inga. Here's the Frau! in all her fun voice glory! Remember doing her voice in Traverse City?? Hilarious, I'm laughing out loud now. Great Post!

Ginger said...

Very reasonable and practical tips! Thanks for sharing!

Erin said...

so I had to laugh at tip #9... as I'm sitting here reading and eating from a bag of jelly beans.... lol :) Luckily I'm only 2 weeks out from having girlie #3 and not trying to lose weight quite yet... :)