Monday, October 3, 2011

So how'd you do it? - Eating Clean/Calorie Counting

Let's back up a bit and I'll list the things I've tried:

~Slim Fast
~Cereal diet
~Phentermine (Adipex)'
~Weight Watchers (well not a real attempt, I signed up online for 2 months)
~Lean Cuisines, Smart ones, Healthy Choices etc.
~SouthBeach Diet
~Low Carb
~Eating what I want and trying to work it off with 2-a-day workouts

I think that exhausts my list.  All of the aboves...FAIL. FAIL. FAIL.

Ok, well not total fails. With Southbeach I did lose 25lbs or so and never gained it back and I didn't give WW a whole hearted attempt (my sister is doing very well on WW)

Some of these other ones. CRAZINESS, in my opinion.  I've heard many people say it and this is SO TRUE. Whatever you do to lose the weight is what you will be doing in order to keep it off. Because as soon as you stop doing them, the weight comes back. HELLO. I'm a witness!

How realistic is it to drink a Slim Fast shake for breakfast and lunch for the rest of my life? Not realistic at all. Oh and don't get me started on the Phentermine.  I was up at 2am vacuuming my entire house because I couldn't sleep and had all this energy.

My last attempt at tackling my weight had me in the gym ALL day and night.  I was of the mindset I would eat what I wanted as long as I burned it all off! Ummm, that worked for a while, but life got in the way of my marathon workout sessions.

It's hard for me to discuss weight loss with many people. When they start talking about injecting hormones, eating cabbage all day, and swalling pills my mind starts wandering and I try hard to bite my tongue about why those things don't work in the long term. But aye..who am I? I've been there, done that.

I yo-yo'd so much because I never figured out what really worked. Like I said before, I would get down to 210, then back up to 240, back to 205, back up to 225. It was insane that I never got under 200 lbs. I thought it was really something wrong with me and my body wasn't able to do it. (Yeah, I know I'm insane)

This past holiday season (2010) I'd had enough. I was 240ish lbs again and completely uncomfortable..AGAIN. I thought I had it all together when I got down from 311 lbs to 210 and here I was, miserable.  AGAIN!

As much Sparking as I'd done, I knew my nutrition sucked. I knew I had been trying to win the war without all the necessary artillery, if you will.

During my time off from work during the holidays,  I started really taking a look at "A black Girls Guide to Weight Loss" blog.  I wanted to deny what she {Erika} was saying about counting calories and eating clean, but the Holy Spirit would not allow me to take in all this information and ignore it.  I was moved to admitting my addiction to processed, fatty, sugary food and coming to the realization that I needed to eat clean.

What is eating clean?

In layman's terms, eating clean is eating only whole foods. Foods with little to no ingredients and in their rawest form.  Fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, complex carbs, dairy products. No processed foods (foods processed in a manufacturing plant and passed off as edible. Sorry. Soapbox)

Here are a couple of links about it (that explain it more eloquently than I can)

Along with eating clean, I count calories. Though I believe eating whole foods is important, I still can over-eat these foods as well (but not nearly as much as junky processed foods) You can still have too much of a good thing.

Sparkpeople gives me a calorie range based on my weight, goal weight, and the amount of calories I burn with exercise.  This tool has been fundamental in my weight loss (and weight maintenance).  Counting calories is like managing a budget.  When you begin counting you see how many calories your favorite foods have. Like a budget, you start to think about whether the calories of those items are "worth it" or if you can "fit it in".

If I'm feeling really hungry, I eat tons of vegetables for volume using very few of my allowed calories.  You'd be surprised how calories add up!  Every bite, every drink, everything you put in your mouth has a calorie value.  Make them worth it!

Here is a link on calorie counting:

Erika has an awesome series on the importance of calorie counting for weight loss.

So in answer to how I did it (in a way that I can maintain for the rest of my life) my answer is eating clean, and calorie counting. Maybe one day I will get to the point where I can intuitively eat, but until then, I will be logging all my foods.

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