We all struggle with weight. And I am no different from anyone else in that regard. (No, I’m not as big as the picture above, but some days I FEEL that way!) I recently posted that I weighed more than I ever have and I made up my mind to do something about it. I didn’t want a diet. I’ve had success with the HCG diet before, dropping 40 pound or so in a very short time. But the effect was not lasting for me. It didn’t take a year to gain it all back plus some. I want something that will last forever. I don’t intend to put in the work to lose weight – and it IS work! – just to have to do it all over again next year.
So, I’ve spent a lot of time recently researching all the options that are out there. Anything that relied on counting calories or points was off the table. I was looking for something that would become a natural eating lifestyle that was easy to stay on for the rest of my life. That said, I know that weight loss or maintenance all really boils down to calories in vs. calories out. Narrowing it down to two choices, I focused on looking at The Paleo Diet and the Real Food diet.
The Paleo Diet, as you may know, is concentrated on eating only the foods that our cavemen ancestors would have had accessible to them. This means grass-fed meat, plants, vegetables, fish, fruit, roots and nuts. It specifically excludes grains, beans, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt and sugar and processed oils. Not a bad option. I already know that carbs in the form of breads, cookies, donuts, etc tend to put weight on my frame easily. But I’m not too sure about the dairy restriction. I really like cheese and yogurt, even though I pass on the milk.
The Real Food Diet allows lots of fruits and vegetables, locally grown meats, dairy products, 100% whole wheat and whole grains, wild-caught seafood, dried fruits , seeds, nuts, popcorn and natural sweeteners, such as honey or maple syrup. Specifically excluded in this diet are fast food, refined grains and sweeteners and nothing deep-fried. This option is a bit less restrictive than the Paleo Diet, but more feasible for long-term, in my opinion.
Both diets prefer organic good whenever possible and drinks, for me, can be water, iced tea and natural fruit juices.
After spending a lot of time really considering the options and perusing several blogs with recipes, I decided to go, for the most part, with the Real Food diet. I’ve been eating that way, sort of, for a couple of years. I will limit the amount of “good” grains that I eat, such as quinoa, barley and brown rice, and eliminate bread altogether unless I can find an alternative that is acceptable.
The biggest adjustment has been ditching the processed foods, mostly in the form of snacks. I did a huge purge of my kitchen and pantry and purchased more fruit, some Larabars, which are surprisingly good, and changed my meal planning to include many more vegetables. I’ve been eating this way for about a week now and surprising things are happening already. I have more energy, I’m not hungry between meals and I think I’ve already lost weight. It hasn’t been hard to eat out, as I can always find something that fits my requirements. I weighed at the beginning of the month and don’t plan on weighing again until next month, if I can wait that long. I’m using a weight loss tool that I made after seeing a similar one on Pinterest. I put a number of marbles equal to the weight I’d like to lose in one vase and, when I do weigh, I’ll move a number of marble equal to the pounds lost over into the other vase. They sit on my kitchen window sill and will provide a visual reminder of my progress. By weighing only monthly (or semi-monthly, I’m itching to do it already :)), I’m hoping it will remind me that this is more about overall health and not to obsess over a pound here, a pound there.
The other big surprise is that my husband is willing to go along with these changes! I had assumed that he would not be interested and proceeded in that fashion when he caught me up and wanted to know what was going on in the kitchen. I explained and he said he’d give it a try. Since he is a real meat and potatoes kind of guy, if he really misses the starches and carbs, I can easily accommodate his tastes by cooking something extra with the meal. When he’s out, he’s on his own in terms of whether he “keeps the faith” or not. Hopefully, when he sees me make progress, it will motivate him for HIMSELF.
I will post my progress (or lack thereof, but I’m trying to be optimistic) along the way. I’m also logging my foods on a phone app, just for the purpose of education and to see percentages of carbs, protein and fat, not necessarily calories or pounds lost. It’s interesting to discover how different foods stack up.
What about you? Did you make a big New Year’s resolution to lose weight? What plan are you following? I’d love to share the journey with you!