Seeking My Best Self

trying to make sense of my life – and lose some weight

Be Boring, Part Two

eggLast post, I talked about the importance of creating a set pattern of meals and snacks. Today, I want to share my current routine.

Cherie’s Diet Routine

1) Pre-breakfast snack: 2-3 bites of active culture, fat-free yogurt. This feeds my gut flora, and starts my digestion off right!

Coffee. Lots of coffee. With a little skim milk. Don’t talk to me about health benefits vs. health costs. I need my coffee.

2) Breakfast: an egg and half a banana. My tummy can be touchy in the morning, and an egg always goes down easy. Bananas are potassium rich, which is good for the heart, skeletal and muscle systems. Potatoes, beans, dried fruit, tomatoes and yogurt are also great sources of potassium.

3) Mid-morning snack: 1 tablespoon unsalted sunflower seeds, 1 tablespoon raw cashews (or almonds), 2 dried figs.

4) Lunch: 2 oz of protein (OK, I do have some variety here), seasonal fresh fruit, a cup of cooked veges. Sometimes I add a slice of whole grain bread (i.e, a sandwich.)

5) Mid-afternoon snack: salad greens with lemon juice, 1 tablespoon nuts/seeds, 1 tablespoon dried fruit.

6) Dinner – ADVENTURE! Now I’m feeling like a bit of variety. Quinoa or fish? Steak or lamb? Or perhaps grilled zucchini topped with pepper-jack cheese? A baked potato with broccoli? I love me some variety now!

&) Evening snack: a small glass of wine. I try not to eat anything after 7 pm, because it’s healthy to go to bed a little hungry.

This routine works for several reasons:

  •  I love nuts and dried fruit. A lot. They are good for me, and it feels like a treat every time I ‘get’ to have some.
  • Because I change my fresh fruits seasonally,I’m always excited about them.
  •  I happen to like my vegetables well-cooked (I drink the water they’re steamed in, so I retain the vitamins) so that’s how I eat them. I don’t have to eat them raw, no matter how many others do – it’s OK to have preferences! Even those with picky tastebuds can find ways to succeed. We all know what a healthy diet looks like (and if you don’t, here’s a book that makes it easy to understand: Nutrition Made Simple)
  •  I’m busy, and it’s easy. I don’t have to spend much time on preparation. I don’t have to think. I can fall into it, rather than fight uphill.

I’ve found that my regimen changes naturally. I was on an almond kick for the longest time. Now, it’s cashews. Come autumn, it will likely become filberts or walnuts. You notice, I don’t really have to *think* about it. Same with dried fruit. If Trader Joe’s doesn’t have figs, I substitute prunes. Or dates. Or raisins. My routine continues unchanged – a tablespoon of what’s in my cupboard.

The important thing is to be sure it really IS there, otherwise my need for crunch may lead me to potato chips, my craving for sweet to candy or donuts. I do live in the land of Voodoo Donuts, after all!

So, be boring. You have my permission. (Picture me waving my hand in divine dispensation.) Make a diet routine – one that you LIKE. It’s oh-so-much-easier to stick with a healthy lifestyle if you do!

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Be Boring, Part One

green and red healthy foodThere are so many healthy food options! If you’re like me, it can be overwhelming to coordinate three meals plus three snacks (or so) every day. Pretty soon, it’s too much work, and we give up.

A while back, I read a bit of advice that really helped:

“Eat the same breakfast and lunch every day. Choose the same snacks. Vary only your dinner.”

On the surface, that seems like a recipe (pun intended) for failure. If we get bored with our food, we’re unlikely to stick with a diet, right?

Turns out, that’s not the case. We humans are creatures of habit – including what we eat. And in our busy lives, what we really want is NOT HAVE TO THINK about it! That’s why diet plans that provide all the food – often at exorbitant prices – are so popular.

But we can don’t have to turn control of our diet over to a corporation. We can do it for ourselves by making it easy!

Here’s how:

Step One. Find your ‘golden foods’ – those things that delight you AND are good for you. Make a list. What do you like to eat? Are you an oatmeal and fruit fan? Eat it. Every morning. It’s good for you.

Step Two. Pay attention to your nutritional needs (and weight-loss goals) and choose foods accordingly. Oatmeal is a good breakfast. It’s not a good breakfast, snack AND lunch item. Nutritionally, you need variety. Add protein, vegetable, more fruit, another complex carbo, and a little fat into the mix.

How about half a nut butter sandwich (doesn’t HAVE to be peanut butter)? Or tuna mixed with yogurt and apple (and a little horseradish mustard for zing)? Look for variety. Find yummy, healthy, EASY foods – then stick to them.

Step Three. Write it out. Post it on your fridge, your computer, wherever you’ll see it at a glance. Add your *new* staples to the shopping list. Make sure these foods are always available in your kitchen.

Voila! Done.

Now you have a diet routine. And routine is GOOD!

In my next post, I’ll finish up this discussion and share my current food regimen.

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