This post is by OYS writer Alexis from Trading Cardio for Cosmos. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram sharing her awesome weight loss tips and motivation!! She’s lost over 100lbs so she has lots to share!
I recently read where an article where a dietitian said “If you eat what you have always eaten, you will weigh what you have always weighed.”
This point was fascinating to me because most people I see yo-yo dieting fall into two categories:
First are the people who eat stuff they would’ve absolutely never eaten before starting to lose weight and have no intention of eating long-term. Most people will not eat meal replacement bars or shakes or prepackaged food for the rest of their life. They eat it while they lose weight, and then they go back to eating what they have always eaten. And in most cases, eventually these people will weigh what they have always weighed again.
Second there are those who try to eat knock-off, low-fat and low-cal versions of what they have always eaten. Think Lean Cuisines, fat-free soups, cheese, eggbeaters, etc.
These are short-term solutions, but unfortunately, they’re usually less tasty and less satisfying versions of the thing you want, so most people revert back to the full-fat or original versions when they are done losing or when they just can’t eat the “fake” version anymore. And as they go back to eating what they have always eaten, they eventually go back to weighing what they have always weighed.
Before I decided to lose weight, my eating habits were that of a frat boy on a bender. I smoke cigarettes, drank too much and ate at least one (if not two) meals from a drive thru every day. I overindulged in rich foods, fried foods, prepackaged snack foods and foods high in sodium and cholesterol.
So when I started my weight loss journey, I knew that I could not continue to eat the way I had been eating and expect to live to age 50. So I set out to radically change my eating habits. I started to look for food that would fuel my body, rather than soothe with me, entertain me, or that I could use to stuff down my feelings.
Two years later, I have lost 116 pounds and I am nearing a healthy BMI. I make a point to choose the foods that are healthiest for me as often as possible. That doesn’t mean there’s not cake and cosmos sometimes, but now most of my choices have become about my health.
So with this in mind, here are 6 Food Goals to Set if your starting our weight loss journey. These goals will lead you to a cleaner eating lifestyle and hopefully save you money, as well! Check them out:
#1. Ditch the Soda.
I know this is going to be the least popular goal, so I’m throwing it out there first. Soda is full of sugar, calories and artificial flavors and chemicals. Diet soda will save you about 140-160 calories over regular soda, but its chemical impacts on your body are profound. Did you know that aspartame can trigger insulin, which signals your body to enter fat storage mode? That’s right, your diet soda actually makes it MORE difficult to lose weight!
I gave up soda when I was five months into my weight loss journey, and I have not had any in the last 20 months. Now I choose club soda or seltzer water, and if I need a little sweetness I add some muddled fresh berries or citrus fruits. When I gave up soda I realized my body was still craving the bubbles, so the seltzer water fulfills that craving!
#2. Challenge your palate.
When I started losing weight, I was worried that I would be stuck eating the same thing day in and day out so I started looking for interesting foods I could incorporate into my menu. I tried radishes, carrots, squash and scallops. I added a kale and power greens to my breakfast and my salads (rather than regular romaine and iceberg lettuce). I also tried Thai, African and Indian foods to provide more variety in my menu plans.
#3. Ditch the pre-portioned, packed meals.
I know they’re convenient, but pre-packaged frozen meals are loaded with sodium and preservatives to keep the food stable. Studies show high sodium intake can (among other things) contribute to the development of heart disease, and heart disease is the leading cause of death among women. However we can limit our sodium, we should.
And there’s a psychological reason for avoiding these meals. You are choosing a low-fat, pretty-much-inferior version of your favorite meal. The spaghetti and meatballs with the sickenly sweet sauce, the glue-y macaroni and cheese. They’re never as good as the real thing, which ultimately means you’re more likely to go back to the real thing because it’s what you REALLY want.
So rather than the pre-packaged meal ,why not figure out how to make a sensible portion of your favorite meal fit into your menu planning? For example, on days I want pasta, I know to cut out my morning English muffin. If I know I’m going out for cosmos after work, I have a big salad and some tuna or shrimp, rather than a sandwich with meat, cheese and mayo. By eating in moderation and balancing out the day, I can still have the things I love without all the sodium and preservatives.
#4. Embrace a theme night.
As I mentioned before, when I first started to lose weight I was worried about being stuck with chicken breasts, filet of sole and shrimp because I knew their nutritional value. So I challenged myself to plan some of my dinners around a theme that would force me out of my comfort zone, like “Meatless Monday,” “Taco Tuesday,” or even “Soup-er Sunday.” We’ve had so much fun making vegetarian dishes like bimimbap, gourmet fish tacos and a different soup every Sunday!
#5. Ditch the drive-thru!
I was on a first name basis with a few drive-through operators when I started my weight loss journey. But I knew that those high fat, microwaved food were not good for me so I set out to make my breakfast and lunch at home. By meal prepping on Sundays, I still have the same “grab & go” convenience throughout the week, without the cost AND it tastes better!
#6. Eat seasonally.
Eating seasonally is nutritionally savvy because fruits and vegetables are at their best when they’re fresh. Also, fresh fruits and veggies are least expensive when they’re in season. Oranges are not cheap in August, nor are apples inexpensive in February. But by eating those items when they are in season, you get more nutritional value and you save money!
What do you think? Are my goals realistic or out of left field? What are your food goals?