It’s going on two years since I made a big commitment to restructuring my diet for a healthy life. I lost 33 pounds and have kept it off. I go up and down a pound or two but essentially am holding at 149 pounds. It is a good weight for me. Most of this success is from what I don’t eat.
A few weeks ago I made a comment on Facebook when I posted a photo of me eating a hamburger. My comment was something like “I don’t really do hamburgers anymore”. Fairly innocent comment but so many people asked me about it. What do I mean I don’t do hamburgers anymore?
So, let me explain.
I Don’t Do Hamburgers
First, a caveat – I have learned what my body reacts negatively to. I’ve learned this through trial and error. I’ve also learned not to restrict any food 100%. So when I say I don’t do hamburgers anymore…well never say never. I break all these rules from time to time. Because life would really suck if you can’t break a few rules from time to time, and eat the donut (or hamburger) on occasion.
How I Lost The Weight
I signed up for Noom (NOT a diet but a lifestyle and psychology program) in May of 2020. I committed to it 100% for six months. It helped me realign my thinking and healthy choices and I am eternally grateful. Since then, I have continued to consider everything I put in my mouth on a daily basis. And I have continued to step on the scale every morning. Weighing daily has been a huge factor in my ability to see what foods make the scale go up or down, what activity makes the scale go up and down, and it keeps me focused. Yes I travel with a bathroom scale in my suitcase. No I’m not kidding.
The blog I wrote about Noom (See it here – My Self Care Journey with Noom) is one of the most read blogs I’ve ever posted. But here is the deal; Noom won’t work for you if you don’t commit. No excuses. Noom is only a tool…YOU must do the work. Failure is not Noom’s fault. I’ve had many people say to me “oh Noom didn’t work for me”. Hogwash.
This disease called Diverticulosis is something I have dealt with for a decade. Last April I had surgery to remove part of my colon (Read about it here – What is Diverticulosis). Even a year later I am still dealing with some diverticulosis issues. The reality is I probably always will.
Unhealthy eating leads to all kinds of ailments, and so it’s never too soon to start thinking about your diet. Poor eating habits contribute to a vast majority of health issues in the United States from obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer. Why not take control of your health and your one and only body? It’s not too late.
All The Fish All The Time
I used to only eat fish in restaurants because I felt like I didn’t know how to properly prepare fish at home. But those days are over. We eat fish 4-6 times a week. I have fish delivered to my home and always have wild caught fish in my freezer. Having it accessible means I will eat it. And I have taught myself so many ways to enjoy cooking it at home. Check out these two posts about fish – Fun and Delicious Ways to Cook Fish and Wild Caught Alaska White Fish Recipes.
Never Say Never
As I learned about food psychology from Noom, shed the pounds, took up running again AND began to discover what foods set off my diverticulitis, I slowly developed my own healthy eating style. A style that fits my life, goals, tastes, and level of activity. But I never say never. I eat just about anything, I just eat the foods on my personal “bad” list only occasionally.
We didn’t set out to do intermittent fasting as part of our healthy eating. It actually never occurred to us. But, as we find our way in a new and healthy lifestyle, intermittent fasting became part of our life. Here’s why; we really only eat two meals a day. Again…never say never. But most days, we only eat breakfast and dinner (see below for what we eat daily). I do my morning run before breakfast, and have breakfast in the 9:00-10:00am range after my workout. Then we have an early dinner most days (never say never) in the 4:00pm range. We don’t eat again until the next day, anywhere from 14-17 hours. We rarely snack in the evening.
Why Two Meals a Day?
Back in the day I never ate breakfast. I raced around the house getting kids to school and me to work and never thought about breakfast…for decades. That bad habit resulted in my being famished by 10:30am and devouring something huge and unhealthy, often from a fast food place. Back home in the evening I could practically eat an entire meal by nibbling while making dinner…then sit down and eat dinner too. In the evening in front of the TV we often snacked on microwave popcorn, Cheez-Its or Ice Cream.
That doesn’t happen anymore. We eat two good healthy meals a day, with occasional healthy snacks or lunch in the middle. A typical day looks like this;
Coffee then Run
Breakfast is a large bowl with yogurt, berries, Kiwi, mango or pineapple, spinach, grains (barley or quinoa usually), chia seeds and walnuts or almonds. Breakfast includes a hard boiled egg and frequently half an avocado. My breakfast usually includes kombucha.
Dinner might be fish tacos, stir fry or baked cod, halibut or salmon, sometimes chicken or pork. Dinner almost always includes a salad and another green vegetable. We eat risotto a lot because it’s versatile but we don’t eat much pasta. We eat meatless one or two days week and that might be omelet or homemade bean soup, or quinoa patties (my fav) or even lentil dhal or stuffed Portobello.
It’s always filling and delicious and we don’t really need to snack. I drink a ton of water which also keeps me satiated. Sometimes I have herbal tea in the evening.
What I Don’t Eat (Well Most of the Time)
Never say never. There are five things listed here that I generally don’t eat. Removing these things from my daily intake was a quantum leap for me. I never set out to permanently eliminate these, but once I did and I saw the results everything fell into place.
Beef is something my diverticulosis finds offensive. I eat it very rarely. On St Patrick’s Day I had a delicious Irish Stew made with beef. I enjoyed it very much but suffered slightly the next day. Once I recognized the connection I really didn’t desire beef. I still eat pork, lamb and chicken and a ton of fish.
I’ve always enjoyed a good Charcuterie, or a deli sandwich, but I’ve stepped away from these things, including bacon, as part of a healthy diet low in saturated fats. It’s just not worth it…occasionally I’ll have some bacon, which I did recently in a Cobb Salad. It was delicious but it will remain on the occasional list.
CHEESE AND MOST DAIRY
When I was cooking for a family of four we ate so much cheese. OMG we had cheese everyday. Macaroni and Cheese, Spaghetti and cheese, cheesy quiche, grilled cheese, Quesadilla and cheesy tacos. Not anymore. Cheese is like a cork for my digestion so I consume it in very small quantities on rare occasions. I’ll have a little on a taco, some parmesan in risotto and occasionally a few bites off a cheese board. That’s what I miss the most. But it’s not worth it. I still eat butter and I eat yogurt everyday, but the rest of the dairy is limited.
I’ve never been a big dessert eater, even though I love to bake for my family and for special occasions. The only dessert I really miss though is ice cream. But after being on heartburn medicine for a decade (omeprazole) I was flabbergasted how cutting sugar from my diet (never say never) eliminated my need for the meds! After ten years! And no doctor ever mentioned this to me….what the heck?? If you are taking heartburn meds, cut out the processed foods high in sugar as well as homemade sugary things and see if your heart burn goes away. Let’s get un-medicated.
This one will surprise some people because you see me post pictures of drinks on tropical beaches…but the truth is I barely drink alcohol anymore. Not only do beer, wine and cocktails carry a powerful caloric punch…I just feel better when I don’t consume alcohol. There was a time in our life where we opened a bottle of wine every evening and drank it with dinner. There was a time where we, especially in hot climates, drank 2-3 gin and tonics in the afternoon. Those days are over. I have a drink at the most once a week now.
So that’s What I don’t Eat (Well Most of the Time).
These Are My Choices
These are my choices, choices I’ve made to feel the best I can in my Grey Goddess body. My choices aren’t anyone else choices. Each person needs to forge their own path. But since you all asked what the heck I meant when I said “I don’t really do hamburgers”, well now you know.
The world can be hard. Eat the hamburger if you want. But then, get back in the saddle and focus on a healthy body and mind because, life is fabulous and you want to be part of it for many years to come. Go. Be. Fabulous!
If I can help, I’m all ears. xoxox
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