Good Food Choices
Today is a real milestone. Four weeks, four full weekends, twenty-eight days, and going strong. The week ahead will present some challenges, but nothing we can't handle! Amber is coming home from school for fall break on Wednesday evening and we can't wait to give her a big hug. Usually with a homecoming like this, we would plan some pretty elaborate meals. Lasagna, enchiladas, ramen noodles loaded with beef and homemade fries, these are the type of things we've always looked forward to having. And we'll probably still have some of those things, but this time I'll put some thought into the planning and preparation, along with a calculator. Every piece of lasagna will have an accurate calorie count, every enchilada too. I'll scale down the recipes to decrease the calories, but I won't buy fat free! I've said it before, I'd rather have a little serving of the real stuff than a big serving of the fat free variety. It's so important to understand that counting calories is just a way of measuring food amounts. The big lesson is learning to eat normal portions and getting away from the table when you're satisfied, not stuffed. I've never been a big believer in diets that tell you to eat a certain food or foods to lose weight. This is the real world, and situations change, menus change, when you're invited to someones house for dinner you have to be able to adapt, and make wise decisions on what you're eating and portion size. A diet that makes you eat a pre-set schedule of foods, in some cases food that has been shipped to you, will help you lose weight, but is it teaching how to handle food for the rest of your life once the weight is off? That's why I plan on having lasagna when Amber comes home, and yes maybe enchiladas too! I can't wait to see how they turn out calorie wise, I'll be sure to give an update!
Last night while Courtney was at work at the radio station, Irene and I enjoyed dinner out at one of our favorite little Mexican restaurants. It's not the fanciest place, but they have awesome food and really low prices, and that's enough to sell me! When the complimentary chips and salsa arrived I immediately counted out ten chips. Irene had about the same, so there was still a pretty big amount of chips left in the basket. The staff there is probably curious why we weren't going to town on the chips, they're use to us finishing the first basket before our food arrives, then ordering another basket! They probably had another basket on stand-by expecting me to ask for them at any minute. I ordered two tacos and a beef tostada. Now a beef taco at Taco Bell is 170, a beef taco at Taco Bueno is 200, a beef taco at this place is safely estimated to be 200. But the tostada, well that's a different story. A tostada at Taco Bell is 250, but remember at Taco Bell it's foundation is a thin layer of beans, this one is a big pile of ground beef. This tostada was loaded with a bunch of meat, lettuce, and a hefty portion of sour cream. I would be lying to myself had I counted it at anything less than 450. So, I only had one taco and the tostada. I had enough calories for everything, but I wanted to save some calories for a snack or treat later. It was a very enjoyable dinner. I was satisfied, and even felt a little “overly full”, Irene reminded me that the water I was drinking and the chips too was contributing to the feeling of “over fullness”. At a mom and pop restaurant like this you just have to make educated guesses on calorie counts. Calorie lab analysis of menu items is a very expensive process, and unless it's a chain of some kind, they probably haven't had them done. So you take what you know and make honest educated guesses. I could've just called the tostada 250, but after one look I knew it was much more. Irene and I had about the same amount of calories, and a nice dinner for two at a great restaurant, at a great price calorie wise and money wise!
I hate to make this days blog all about food but there are some tricks and secrets that make eating almost anything a good calorie choice. Tonight we had company and served thin crust pizza. “Thin crust” is the punchline to my “Amazing Pizza Hut Diet” stand-up bit, and it's so true. A decent sized piece of thin crust pizza can be as low as 150 to 200 calories depending on your topping choices. A decent sized piece of deep dish pizza or “pan” pizza can range anywhere from 375 to 500 or more---per piece! You should see all of the oil that is squirted into the bottom of each pan pizza at Pizza Hut. It's a bunch and it taste real good, but if you're wanting to stretch your calories, thin is the way to go! I had three slices for 600 calories tonight and I was perfectly satisfied. The changes we've been making over the last 28 days have been changes that we can use for the rest of our lives. And really that's what it's all about, a lifestyle change. Weight loss without truly learning how to handle food in everyday life situations is temporary. But if you lose the weight while learning how to change the way you approach food and exercise, then you can achieve permanent results. I've lost 115 pounds before and it feels horrible when the weight comes back so quickly. But it did come back because I didn't learn anything along that journey. As soon as I fell off the wagon I went right back to eating huge portions of whatever I wanted, and I didn't exercise anymore. What did I expect would happen? It's a terrible feeling of defeat when you realize that all that hard work has been erased by your old habits. I never want to feel that feeling again. I'm a student to a new way of thinking. I'm changing really bad habits into good habits. Oh, I still have plenty of bad habits, but they know I'm coming for 'em and I'm bringing hell with me!