My Diet Secrets

I don't have much news on the diet front from the past week or so.  I have been maintaining rather well although this past weekend my wild fun Saturday and "I'm sleepy, let's eat" Sunday did sort of stall my progress. 

So, instead of telling you that I weigh exactly the same as I did last week, I'm going to share some of the things that keep me motivated and happy, instead of lazy and full of cravings.  I'm going to share some of my diet secrets.  (And ok, so I know that these actually aren't "secrets" at all. They are my "strategies for success," but that title just doesn't sound nearly as interesting as secrets.)

1. Planning ahead
And I mean serious planning. On Sunday mornings I write a list of all of the meals that I'm going to cook that week, Sunday through Friday (Saturday night is usually a free night.)  I write out menus, including side dishes, to make sure that the meal averages out to between 500 and 600 calories - the max range that I allow my dinners to be.  Then I only buy groceries for those meals.
In addition to the menus, I plan out every calorie that I intend to consume for breakfast, lunch, and snacks that day.  I weigh, cut, and measure everything that I eat, and pack it up into little ziploc baggies.  I know that I am ONLY allowed to eat those things - nothing more.  For dinner, I eat my pre-planned dinner.  Then I work out for at least 30 to 60 minutes.  If you don't like planning or routine, then this type of dieting is NOT for you.  It leaves very little room for spontaneity (what I like to call "Saturday.")

2. Television
Without exercising, dieting is nearly impossible.  I can lose weight without exercise, but the results are way slower and much less satisfying. Similarly, without television, exercise is nearly impossible for me, as it is my primary source of motivation to work out.
Dave and I are lucky because we've been able to afford a treadmill and exercise bike for our basement family room.  (We justify the cost because it's "for our health" and if we didn't have it, I would pay to join a gym anyway.)  Anyway, at 8 p.m. each night, I like to watch a little TV.  So instead of just sitting around and watching TV, I've made it a habit to work out while watching.  Whether it's sitting on the exercise bike (which is much quieter and overall less mentally taxing) or walking or running on the treadmill (louder but produces greater calories output) I try to not watch TV without moving.

3. Cashews and Mini-Wheats (a.k.a. Protein and Fiber)
What they say about protein and fiber making you feel full for longer is actually true.  The unfortunate thing is that protein and fiber aren't in the most flavorful foods (like buffalo chicken, my personal favorite.) But I've found some great ways to get my protein AND satisfy my craving for intense flavors.  For me, cashews fill the oil void, where I feel like I'm eating something totally tasty and bad for me, but it's actually not that bad.  Black beans doused in cumin and cayenne pepper gives me a similar hot taste a buffalo chicken, but with more protein and less "fried."  In fact, I'm starting to not enjoy eating meat much at all anymore, and would much rather have beans or avocado or something similar.  We'll see how that progresses...

4.  My Clothes
Back in 2008 I had my mom take permanent tucks into all of my pants that were too big for me.  That was back in the day when I was at my smallest.  Now those pants don't fit anymore, and since it's fall, the elastic wasitband skirts that I love to wear to work in the summer are no longer appropriate. 
Anyone who knows me knows that I hate to be wasteful. Some might even call me a pack rat.  I like spending money just as much as the next girl, and love shopping - especially by myself when I can linger and try things on for as long as I want - but I have a hard time getting rid of perfectly good items when it's my own damn fault that I got too fat to fit into them anymore.   I will NOT spend money on an entirely new wardrobe of bigger clothes when I can lose weight to fit into the ones that I currently have.

So, while I realize that motivation is truly an internal process that differs for each individual, these four things are currently really working for me right now.  What are your "secrets?"


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