As with any thing in life there comes a time when change is necessary. My body is telling me it’s tired of the regiment it is on now-eating the same old foods to the point of burn out. My brain is telling me it wants to eat different foods and change-up exercise plans. And the scale is showing an increase in weight. It’s nothing to get upset over but it is something I want to get a grip on. The most difficult part is not the diet itself but trying to figure out which foods will work, which foods taste good and which foods will keep the weight off while trying to lose those last 10 stubborn pounds.
I’ve spent days researching foods and diets and think I’ve come up with a plan that will turn my taste buds around, help fight hunger, food boredom, and give me the nutritional boost I need to keep going. Let me note that I still stick with a strict calorie range and I watch my carb intake like a hawk. However, this plan will allow me to incorporate more whole grains into my diet-which helps to keep you fuller longer. I continue to use my Lose It app for calorie counting and the MapMyRun app for exercise. The diet plan I am moving to, many of you have probably heard of or tried…it’s called the Mediterranean Diet. Here’s what I’ve discovered:
- Meals should contain vegetables, fruit, cereals, and dairy.
- Olive oil should be the main source of fat, but lean animal proteins such as eggs, fish, and seafood are also permitted.
- Sugar and sweets should be limited; However small amounts aren’t harmful.
- Heart healthy diet
- Reduces risk of heart disease, cardiovascular death, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
The Mediterranean diet is a delicious and healthy way to eat. Many people who switch to this style of eating say they’ll never eat any other way. Here are some specific steps to get you started: (these are points that I have found while researching this particular eating plan)
- Eat your veggies and fruits — and switch to whole grains. An abundance and variety of plant foods should make up the majority of your meals. They should be minimally processed, and try to purchase them when they’re in season. Strive for seven to 10 servings a day of veggies and fruits. Switch to whole-grain bread and cereal, and begin to eat more whole-gain rice and pasta products. Keep baby carrots, apples and bananas on hand for quick, satisfying snacks. Fruit salads are a wonderful way to eat a variety of healthy fruit.
- Go nuts. Keep almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts on hand for a quick snack. Choose natural peanut butter, rather than the kind with hydrogenated fat added. Try tahini (blended sesame seeds) as a dip or spread for bread.
- Pass on the butter. Try olive or canola oil as a healthy replacement for butter or margarine. Use it in cooking. After cooking pasta, add a touch of olive oil, some garlic and green onions for flavoring. Dip bread in flavored olive oil or lightly spread it on whole-grain bread for a tasty alternative to butter. Try tahini (blended sesame seeds) as a dip or spread for bread too.
- Spice it up. Herbs and spices make food tasty and are also rich in health-promoting substances. Season your meals with herbs and spices rather than salt.
- Go fish. Eat fish once or twice a week. Fresh or water-packed tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel and herring are healthy choices. Grilled fish tastes good and requires little cleanup. Avoid fried fish, unless it’s sautéed in a small amount of canola oil.
- Rein in the red meat. Substitute fish and poultry for red meat. When eaten, make sure it’s lean and keep portions small (about the size of a deck of cards). Also avoid sausage, bacon and other high-fat meats.
- Choose low-fat dairy. Limit higher fat dairy products such as whole or 2 percent milk, cheese and ice cream. Switch to skim milk, fat-free yogurt and low-fat cheese.
- Raise a glass to healthy eating. If it’s OK with your doctor, have a glass of wine at dinner. If you don’t drink alcohol, you don’t need to start. Drinking purple grape juice may be an alternative to wine.
So what foods should you shop for on this eating plan? I’ve attached a list to help you at the grocery store. Don’t freak out when you read it. If there is food that you don’t like, don’t buy it. I like to buy vegetables in bulk so I can wash, slice and bag them for the freezer. That way you have veggies on hand and you don’t have to visit the grocery store every week. If you are worried this plan might not appeal to you, take it slow…find some foods on the list and give them a try for a week then begin to incorporate more into your diet. That way, you don’t give up all together. Diet at your own pace-don’t worry if someone else is losing more than you. Everyone’s body is different 🙂
This morning I had yogurt and fruit for breakfast (see photo). I measured out 1/4 cup of Fage 0% Greek Yogurt (32 calories), 1 teaspoon of honey (20 calories) 1/8 cup of Cheerios (18 calories) 1/4 cup strawberries (20 calories) 1/2 banana (53 calories). That gave me 143 calories. I added a 100 calorie granola bar to the mix for a total of 243 calories.
Lunch-I boiled high fiber, whole wheat elbow noodles (280 calories), rinsed in cold water. I added 2 Tablespoons of regular Italian dressing (86 calories) tomato (22 calories) and bell pepper (7 calories). For a snack I had peanut butter for 250 calories. As it stands right now I have roughly 541 calories left in the day.
Both meals were around my usual calorie range and the foods fit well into the suggested food list. I enjoyed having something different to eat. Tonight I will have a high protein meat and salad.
I will take pics and post everything that I eat this week that way you will have some ideas for your own meals. Also, look at our “No Excuses” Pinterest page. I’ve already posted several links regarding the Mediterranean Diet plan.
I hope this helps everyone!
This is day 1. Don’t look at it like it is something terrible-look at it like you are owning your life again!