Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Diet Secret - Modular Eating

You've heard of Modular Knitting, right? Not everybody likes it, but essentially it's where you knit a series of small pieces and put it together into a whole garment. Well, what I've found is working well for me on the diet front is to do what I call "Modular Eating."

Just to preface this, I am still on Jenny Craig and check in with my diet counselor weekly, and I still eat some of their foods, but I've also branched out to supplement with some of my own healthy snacks and meals.

No matter if I'm eating a Jenny Craig meal or one "on my own" I still eat basically the same. I eat three small healthy meals and two snacks per day - that means, low fat, low sugar, low sodium. The low sodium part is very important. Lots of vegetables and 2 fruits per day to fill me up and meet the nutritional needs. I also take a daily multi-vitamin as this has been proven to help weight loss.

I eat small, healthy meals that are very simple. They are NOT huge on variety and are small in portion size. Too much variety tends to reawaken my need to eat for pure taste rather than what my body needs. It could be cereal, skim milk and a fruit. It could be oats, particularly in the winter. It often is an egg or two, with 1 slice of whole wheat toast and turkey or veggie bacon. Typical lunch/dinner meals are: 2-4 oz of lowfat protein, veggie or salad selection, lowfat dressing and grilled veggies. For snacks, I like Jello 60 calorie pudding snacks (gets in a milk selection), the Dannon Light & Fit yogurt (80 calories); Mott's Natural Applesauce, 1 stick of skim milk cheese. Favorite veggies: Birdseye Steamers - veggies that you can pop in the microwave and steam. They are delicious and fast.

When I do eat Jenny Craig, they are typically 250 calorie meals that are low in fat, salt and probably are equivalent to many other diet frozen foods such as Healthy Choice.

If I eat out, I like to eat 1/2 of a Burger King Veggie Burger. McDonald's favorite snack is their yogurt parfait thing with the fruit. If we eat at a steak restaurant, I order a very small steak or split one with Bob. I eat a potato without the junk on it with grilled veggies.

I try to cut up plenty of fresh veggies on hand and have them ready for when I get the munchies. I package them up in plastic bags to toss into my lunch bag each day. But when I don't have time, I never hesitate to buy precut veggies or salads. The important thing is that they remain readily available in my fridge at all times. I have to admit, veggies are something I have to FORCE myself to eat, so I try to keep the ones I like available and eat them before eating other foods I might prefer. When I get in my daily veggie allotment, I don't find myself overeating as much and feel "fuller."

What have I eliminated from my former eating? Popcorn (that's a red light food for me), ice cream, regular hamburgers and fries. Most fatty desserts. Doughnuts (yuck how did I ever eat those?) Bagels (Bagels I do miss you!!). Gravy. Creamy sauces. Rolls, bread and carbs. Fast food sandwiches in general. High-salt processed meat. Fried foods. Potato chips.

Now mind you, I am not perfect on this diet, not by any means. I still have a ways to go. Ideally, I'd like to lose another 10-15 pounds, but even if I don't lose another pound, I'm much happier where I am now as opposed to where I was a year ago.

Sometimes I splurge and eat the old, unhealthy stuff, but I don't beat myself up about it, I just realize that this type of old-habit "comfort food" eating is what once made me 20 pounds heavier in the past. If I want to maintain my current weight, which I have for 10 months, then I need to eat simply, keep myself to the basic foods I know that I like but don't like so much that I go overboard.

By having a few standard foods and snacks that I buy regularly from the store, I don't get overwhelmed by too many choices. Same thing with restaurants. Most places we go, I can eat SOMETHING. I know ahead of time what I need to order. The only thing I really can't do and stay on program well is Chinese Food. I LOVE it and occasionally indulge - but that's a total diet killer. Whenever I eat it, I gain a few pounds and have to get back on the straight and narrow really quick!

Another thing that is crucial: don't get overly hungry. When you are starving, you can almost never make a good food choice. So eat often. Plan to eat in modules that you know are easy to make, buy and eat. That's my diet tip of the day - and I'm mentioning it because I am reminding myself of what brings success for me so that hopefully I can continue following it for the best results.

My big diet bugaboo remains eating to comfort myself, especially late night snacking or weekend indulgences during high-stress times - but my good friend Phyllis reminds me that often when I THINK I'm starving, especially if it's night-time, I'm probably just tired and can benefit much better from going to bed rather than to the refrigerator.

Those are my tips. If you have any to share, please let me know.


Ellen Bloom said...

You are an inspiration!! Thanks for the tips and keep up the good work.

Elysbeth said...

Wow 10 months! Way to go.

You're going to be hard hit with stress in the near future. Make certain you have a check in session when you get the munchies - Look down - "hi stomach, are you hungry?" Listen - Sigh/shake head despondently when you realise your tastebuds are stress triggered, then knit/bubblebath/treadmill/call a friend/watch a guilty pleasure show