Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More Lessons from the Weight Loss Front

I started this post on Oct. 11 and finally got it edited today.

So, my week of eating almost exclusively Filling Foods is over and I've been doing points again. That's been going well. However, the contrast pointed up a lesson learned.

I was reading that people tend to eat the same volume of food regardless of their calorie level. So, as an example made up by me, if you normally eat 10 cups of food every day and try to lose weight by cutting back to 7 cups, you might lose weight, but you will feel hungry. However, if you substitute 10 cups of food that totals fewer calories than the 10 cups you normally eat, you will lose weight and you won't be hungry. That's the problem with just eating less of what you usually eat. You miss the volume and feel hungry and deprived. But if you eat high-volume, lower calorie foods, like those on the Filling Foods list, you'll lose weight without feeling hungry.

The problem with that is that food habits are among the most difficult habits to change. Mine have changed drastically over the years, but change has come very slowly. I didn't think I really got the baby step concept because I was always falling short of my goals. But I see that over time, I've made changes that are baby steps and those baby steps have helped make following the program easier.

I eat produce at both lunch and dinner. When I don't, I tend to feel less satisfied and overeat. I love veggie soups and salads. I prefer to eat both, but one or the other works.

I've discovered that if I have fresh fruit at every meal, I don't crave desserts as much. That makes it easier to be super picky about what desserts I eat and in what quantity. My current favorite is one Godiva chocolate gem. They come in truffles or caramel and they're one point. Although they're small enough to eat in one bite, I take several small ones and really taste what I'm eating. And it's enough.

I choose whole grains whenever I can. When I bake, I use whole grain flours as much as I can. Not all recipes will work with only whole grain flours, but I've discovered that I can substitute up to half of the flour with whole grains in most recipes. I experiment with various amounts until I find the maximum I can use without losing the flavor and texture.

I eat vegetarian more often. I eat less red meat than I used to. I eat a lot more beans and oatmeal. The next thing I'm adding is cooked polenta and cooked rice to the precooked foods in my freezer. I also plan to make yogurt cheese mixed with roasted garlic and herbs or salsa or whatever I feel like putting in it to use as a dip for raw vegetables. Yogurt and yogurt cheese can also be used to stretch the mayonnaise in a creamy salad dressing.

I've read books where the author talks about changing their diet to eliminate processed and junk foods. They often claim that just changing to more healthy food like that will cause you to lose weight. But it doesn't, not all by itself. I tried that idea and it didn't work for me. You still have to watch portion sizes and choose the higher-calorie foods less often and in smaller portions. The Weight Watcher point system helps me with that aspect of my weight loss efforts.