Week 28: Answer: What is, diet?

First of all, I just want to thank you all for your comments last week! I’m so glad you all enjoyed reading my post about my grandpa… I have to admit, I had some teary eyes while writing it, so I put a little extra heart into it for you all.

What I have not put my heart into, however, is my diet these last few weeks.
Scratch that. I may not have been strict on my diet like I would have been in the past. But, I have been realistic.

Let me say up front that I hate the word “diet.” It has so many negative connotations to it. To many people, the word is blasphemy—especially when you love to cook and eat like I do! I think I first uttered the phrase “I’m on a diet” when I was just 13 years old. Sad, but true. (What is our society coming to? That’s a whole different post in itself, though.) Ever since then, which was about ten years ago, I have been on countless “diets.” And, my weight has been up and down.

Thankfully, I am not as concerned with my weight now as I was ten, or even five, years ago. What can you expect? At those ages, you are going through middle school, high school, and starting out at a new college. But, after a year at college, I learned that there were bigger things to worry about than how flat my stomach was. This, I think, was a good learning curve to go ‘round, despite the late nights of beer and pizza that I, like many other college students, munched through. While I may have gained some weight during college, I have many fun memories of great times with friends that I wouldn’t give up, even if doing so would magically melt ten pounds off my thighs. (Tempting…but…nope.)

Now, it may sound ridiculous saying that I don’t care as much now about my weight and diet as I did back then, seeing as I write about my weight and exercising and diet every week. But, the difference now is that the word “diet” means something entirely new to me. Before, the word diet had many negative synonyms: deprivation, bingeing, hunger, salad, a depressing lack of chocolate, cardboard-like foods with little real nutrition. But now, I see that a “diet” is something that we are ALL on. It is simply the food that we take in every day, good and bad. You can have a healthy diet; you can also have an unhealthy diet. Heck, your dog is on a diet. It eats, right?

I have slowly made a change in the way I see food and my diet. I no longer deprive myself. If I want a cheeseburger, a monster cookie (which I admit I devoured today), or a couple glasses of wine on Friday night, then I’m going to have it and not feel guilty about it. I will have these things in moderation. The problem I used to have was that I thought that I had to be “on a diet” to eat healthily, and that diet meant absolutely no splurging on burgers and cookies and wine. I would restrict myself for a few weeks, lose several pounds, and then return to my old ways of eating junk 24/7 and not listening to what my body really wanted to eat. Now, I see that my everyday diet should consist of mostly healthy foods because they will help fuel my body and mind and creativity. But that chocolate still has a small place in there too, and that is just fine.

I first started this journey to get down to a healthy and realistic weight of 145 pounds; I still want to reach that goal. However, I now realize that the digital, blocky grey numbers that pop up after I stand on the scale for a few moments are just numbers. Getting down to 145 pounds represents a goal to me, a goal to be happy with myself and to be healthy again.

I may not have reached the 145 pound [non]tipping point yet, but, I have already reached the goal of becoming happy with myself and being healthier than I have been in a long while.

What does the word “diet” mean to you? What about your weight? Are they just words and numbers, or do they mean something bigger to you—good or bad?

Fat Stats:
Starting weight: 166 pounds
Last week: 150 pounds
This week: 149.5 pounds
Goal weight: 145 pounds

Live, laugh, eat, drink & be healthy!

P.S. I would also like to minorly announce that this past weekend, I managed to shimmy into my skinny, skinny jeans. They were a little snug, but who cares. Woo-flippin-hoo!

Week 9: The Pantry Challenge

When I am on a diet, I have a hard time going “outside the box,” or I guess pantry, when it comes to meals. I have my stand-by, trusty low-fat and low-calorie meals that I can whip up quickly. They’re usually enough for two portions, so I have leftovers for lunch the next day. But after the same cycle of meals for 9 weeks, I have to say: my palette is BORED. My taste buds are craving something new and delicious, but I still want it to be healthy and stick to my diet plan.

Not to mention that going out to eat is something I try not to do anymore, save once or twice a week, and I am really starting to salivate just thinking about my favorite meals at my favorite restaurants…

So, I decided: It’s time to bust outta that proverbial pantry and into the vast world of culinary delights. Okay, sounds pretty dorky, but that was the challenge I gave myself this week. And, I am happy to report that I came up with some tasty alternatives to add to my regime of yummy, healthy creations. Here are two of my favorite meals.

Chicken, Veggie & Goat Cheese Salad
Chicken & Goat Cheese Salad
I sauté a chicken breast, chopped red bell peppers, mushrooms and garlic, and at the last minute add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Then I toss this in a bowl with 1oz. goat cheese (not the healthiest cheese for you, but you need to have some fat in your diet, I figure!). Then I lay this on top of a big pile of chopped romaine lettuce and drizzle with a little balsamic vinaigrette. Voila. Sooo tasty for a salad!
Mix it up: Use a whole grain wrap and this works great as a sandwich. Or, try using just shrimp, goat cheese and pears on the salad instead. Throw in some cherry tomatoes and use spinach instead of romaine (see picture). The possibilities just go on.

Fajita Quesadillas
Start out by sautéing a chicken breast (or lean steak if you want), red and green bell peppers, and onions in a pan until the onions and peppers are a little caramelized. On a baking pan, lay out a whole grain tortilla (Flat Out whole grain wraps are my pick—only 100 calories and 8 grams of fiber!). Spread chicken & veggie mixture on ½ the tortilla and top with ½ cup low-fat shredded cheese. Fold the other end of the tortilla over and then pop into the oven on 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes (until cheese is melted). Remove, cut into thirds, top with a dollop of low-fat sour cream and salsa, and enjoy! This is a knock-off of one of my favorite Mexican meals from a near-by restaurant. I don’t know the number of calories or fat that I am saving, but I know it must be a LOT! (Not to mention the $10 I save, too!)

The best thing is, both of these meals are healthy and SUPER tasty, and nobody would ever know it. I even get my boyfriend to eat them, with rave reviews (I guess the cat is out of the bag about how healthy they are now, though!).

Do you have any stand-by or favorite recipes? Please comment & share, I am still looking for new things to try to bust out of my food rut! It has become more and more clear that if I really want to make healthier eating a part of my life, I can’t just stick to my standard ten meal cycle—how will that ever last over the many years to come?! (Especially breakfast—oatmeal every morning is sure getting old!)

Again, this week I take inspiration from some of my Jockey® co-workers who have made a healthy lifestyle change and are sticking to it. I hope they inspire you, too!

Challenge: Sticking to a workout plan
“My challenge was making the time for and adhering to a workout schedule. I overcame it by mustering mental discipline and making sure I made no excuses. The resulting motivation has been the level of fitness I have been able to achieve which has also translated to an enhanced mental outlook on life itself. I aspire to achieve that next level.”
Greg, Jockey Technical Analyst

Challenge: Avoiding distractions

“My kids are my motivation. I want them to live a long healthy life. I want them to see me active so they stay active. I religiously work out at lunch to insure I fit the exercise in. On weekends, I get up when everyone else is sleeping to go for a run or bike. I work out much better in the mornings. If I delay the workout, I get involved in my chores or my kids’ lives and the motivation is no longer there. I also sign up for races or events that challenge me so that I stay motivated to train. I pick a new challenge every year: Last year was the marathon, this year is the century.”
Diane, Systems Analyst

Now for some numbers…

Fat Stats:
Starting weight: 166 pounds
Last week: 154.5 pounds
This week: 154.5 pounds (Hello, plateau.)
Goal weight: 145 pounds

Happy eating,