A bit about the diets I met and how they changed me.
I have experimented with several diets in my time. Sometimes the results were confusing, annoying or both. Other times they were awesome. In the end I learned a thing or two from each one.
I tried weight watchers many years ago. The diet worked for me, sorta. At the time, I was focused on losing weight. I followed the plan but shorted myself all day so I could have a large dinner. So although I kept to my “point” limit, I wasn’t making good food choices. For example, I would drink a diet drink for breakfast, a soda and pretzels for lunch and then a large pasta dinner with bread for supper. I was also tired most of the day and ended up supplementing with caffeine. Lots of caffeine. Diet sodas were “free,” so I drank a lot of them. When I started this diet I transitioned from regular soda to diet. At the time I thought that was an excellent choice. Who’s to say for sure? I also learned where to look for calories. At the beginning, it was entertaining to determine how many points were in a specific food. Like knowing a secret language or being included in a secret society. Because of this pastime, I began to rank food. High points or costs and low points or cost. Even years later, I look at pasta and think about how expensive it is to my diet.
The plan is a good plan and they have evolved it over the years to be more about encouraging healthy eating and less about quick weight loss. I have several acquaintances that are on the plan and they love it. I appreciate all of the recipes. I have several Weight Watchers cook books and I look for Weight Watcher recipes online because they are more likely to have nutrition information with them. Nothing worse than finding a recipe that I love, only to determine it’s 800 calories per serving. I have considering trying again but I don’t like the thought of paying for it. Call me cheap, but I can’t do it. Remember a diet change is a forever change.
5:2 Intermittent Fasting
This was my favorite diet ever. I was never tired. I lost like 50 pounds over 6 months and my health generally improved. Why’d I stop? I have other people in my life that can’t do it. It takes EXTREME will power to eat only 500/600 calories at least 2 days a week. I was able to do it, but I wouldn’t call those days my most nutritious. As I went along, I switched to healthier foods. I only counted calories on those two days but I definitely didn’t overeat the other 5 days. I was very mindful of everything I ate and really thought about how the food tasted. I won’t say it was easy, but it did suit my “all in or nothing” personality.
At the beginning I decided to workout on my 500 calorie days. You may wonder why I would make the decision to work out when I had so few calories. The answer is simple. Working out made me forgot about eating and filled some of the time when I would have eaten chips and watched TV. By the end, I was working out everyday. Sometimes twice. I literally had an abundance of energy. I would wake up and work out with my husband on the weekend and then run with my daughters.
The hardest part of the diet was making sure everyone else had food on the days I fasted. I can’t tell you how annoying it is when you have 500 calories you can eat and someone steals a huge bite from your plate. It’s really something that has to be experienced to be completely understood. I live in a family where we commonly try each other’s food so it wasn’t a one time occurrence. I do sometime miss the simplicity of the diet and then I watch someone “sneak” a taste and I know I made the correct choice.
Zero Belly Diet
The food for this diet is outstanding. I mean OMG it’s Delicious!! I still keep most of the recipes in my repertoire and pull them out as favorites. My husband lost weight on this diet. I unfortunately gained weight. I think it was the transition from fasting to eating. I was seriously eating all of the time. The servings were large and did I say delicious? I ate and ate and drank smoothies and ate and snacked. Like I said, to go from eating 500 calorie to eating 5 times a day was a transition.
I also slowed down on working out because the majority of my time went into planning, shopping, prepping and cooking. It was kind of like having another full time job. But I learned how to eat and I stretched my cooking skills. I learned a lot about how to eat and really what I want to eat. I want delicious food that is healthy. I think that is the most important lesson of this diet. You don’t have to skimp on ingredients to eat healthy.
My diet now…
So now I have decided to put all of these together to create my own diet. I have limited my calories so that I need to rank my food and control portion sizes. To be successful I MUST track everything I eat. I didn’t say most things. I said everything! I have calculated that 1200 a day is the correct amount for me. Although on Saturdays I go 1600-2000. Crazy right? But I need a day with chips and salsa and well, Margaritas, for example. 6 Days a week I eat about 1200 calories. I say about because it it extremely impossible to get exactly 1200 a day. My + or – is 100. On the other day I eat 1600-2000. My cheat day… within reason. Because I have reduced my caloric intake, I am mindful of what I eat, even on my cheat day. I don’t want to eat all of my calories on one item, even if that item is french macaroons. I also want to eat slowly and taste every bite. I savor and enjoy every bite of my fish taco and every sip of my passion fruit margarita.
Other rules. Limit processed food including SUGAR. I don’t single sugar out because I think it is all interrelated. If you cut out processed you will automatically cut out added sugar. I eat three meals and two snacks each day. I have one snack that is a raw fruit, like an apple, orange, mango slices, strawberries, watermelon etc. I try to eat what is in season which isn’t always obvious during the winter. My other snack is a raw vegetable like sweet peppers, snap peas, green beans. I eat vegetarian for breakfast and lunch and at least one supper. I have gotten very good at converting my recopies into vegetarian recipes. I am loosing weight at a slow and steady course and eating healthy, delicious and filling food.