Dieting Foods & Tips For People Who Don’t Diet

For those who know me, they know that I just plain out and out don’t diet. I was thinking about my post from Friday, and I found something new in the store I decided to try (and loved)- so I figured I would give all you other non-dieters a few pointers.

See, I decided to give a few ‘dieting’ foods a try after I went 2.5 weeks with practically no weight loss whatsoever. I wasn’t gaining weight, but I wasn’t loosing anymore. I think that this was started around week four of my thus far eight weeks. After the first month, people will usually hit a plateau of some sorts anyways- whether it be big, or small, easily surpassed, or barely surpassed at all. I finally decided it was time to take a look at all of the calories I was eating each day, and I was surprised at just how many it really turned out to be. In turn, I decided that maybe substituting a few high-calories snacks for a few lower-calorie ones might not be all that bad, or that a few small changes wouldn’t really constitute a diet. I still eat all of the things I did before, only now I think about it a little more.

Here’s what I began doing:

Portion Control

At first, I have to admit that I thought portion control was silly. Why should you measure out your food? But it’s made a huge difference. Take for example, the lovely meal I had the other day, which just so happens to be one of my all time favorite meals: fried pork chops, mashed potatoes, and collard greens. I decide to forgo the gravy I usually eat, and measure out each portion. I had to figure out how much my homemade potatoes actually had as far as calories go, and then I figured out how to cut some calories out. See, collard greens have very, very few calories. I think one full cup of cooked collard greens only comes out to just over 50 calories. I cook mine in a little bit of butter, with a pinch of salt and pepper, and just a bit of jalapeno pepper juice. So, I went ahead and added on another 10 or so calories, and let’s just say it comes out to 70 on the safe side. My mashed potatoes are rather high in calories, so I only had half a cup serving. Pork chops are a little high as well, so I only had one. But then I was able to have an entire cup of collard greens. It doesn’t sound like much, but when it is all piled on your plate, you can easily see it’s a good bit. I was still hungry, but not that hungry, so I decided to have another half cup of collard greens. It came out to between 350 and 450 calories for that meal, and I now always have water with my meals. If I want some good old fashioned southern sweet tea- I have it after I’ve eaten.

What would I have normal had? Roughly 2 pork chops, 2 heaping helpings of mashed potatoes, and 1 helping of collard greens, with sweet tea as my drink-and then afterwords, I would have felt so stuffed I was sick. If all my research and calculations are even close to being correct, that comes out to between 1,000 and 1,100 calories. (each heaping helping of mashed potatoes by itself is a little over 300 calories). Right there, I have cut out at least 550 calories. Was I full with my new portions? Oh yes. I was stuffed. I was able to eat my glorious southern meal and still make an effort to lose weight, and that works just fine with me.

Make Water A Habit

Instead of focusing on cutting out soda or tea or anything else, I simply focused on putting water into my routine. I buy bottled water, like most people these days. I knew that you had to drink 8 cups of water each day. Each water bottle is a little more than 2 servings of your daily water, so I knew I had to drink at least 4 each day. I wake up every morning and have my coffee, because I knew that was one thing I simply can’t live without. I have 3 or 4 cups on a good day, 5 or 6 on a rough day, and I even use Coffee-mate’s hazelnut creamer- the full fat, full flavor kind. But I know that’s my one big thing I can’t live without, so I don’t worry too much about it. Once I’m done with my coffee, however, I began to force myself into drinking those 4 water bottles- before I drink anything else during the day. I still have some sweet tea here and there, a small bit of soda once in a while, and on the rare occasion, I even help myself to fattening iced coffee drinks. But mostly, now, 8 weeks later, I just go straight for the bottled water. See, everyone knows that you have to drink water while you exercise. I began by forcing myself to drink 4 bottles a day. When it became habit, I then made myself drink water with my meals. It became habit. The whole time, I automatically drank water when I exercised, so there you go. I am now drinking around 6 to 8 water bottles each day, and it gives me more energy, and a whole lot less calories.

Let’s look at another example. I used to be a vanilla coke addict- no lie. I would drink around 3 a day, plus a whole pot of coffee each morning with my creamer, and at least one glass of sweet tea. Vanilla coke has around 150 calories per can. An entire pot of coffee in my house really only turns out to be around 10 cups for me, which would be fine, except the creamer I use is around 105 calories a cup. It’s delicious, but that’s a lot of calories. Then, there’s sweet tea. I’m not really sure how much my sweet tea has,  but I know the one at McDonalds is 150 calories, so that’s what we’ll go with here. All total drinks for an average day came out to be around 1,650 calories. GASP!That is a lot of calories for just drinks in one day. The sad thing is it’s a pretty normal set up for an average American. But, with my new water-infused daily routine, I’m only drinking around 780 on my ‘naughty’ days when I have 6 cups of coffee with creamer, and a sweet tea after supper. On my ‘nice’ days, when I only have 4 cups of coffee with creamer tops, and no sweet tea after supper, I’m down to 420 calories from my drinks each day. That’s anywhere between 870 and 1,230 calories cut out of my diet right there.

Did it hurt me? Not one bit. The bit trick to all of this is to simply focus on putting water into your routine- don’t even think about cutting anything out! It causes  you to fail, and in the end, putting water in will naturally take other things out.

Why Count Calories?

I keep talking about calories. You may be wondering why. Well, in order to lose weight, you need to burn calories. Calories are in almost all of our foods/drinks, and under normal circumstances, these calories turn into energy. But if we eat too much, and as a result, ingest too many calories, it stays on our bodies as fat. Yes, that’s right. Calories=Energy+Fat. This doesn’t mean you should starve yourself, however…that just screws with your metabolism. Anyways- you need to burn off 3,500 calories over and above what you have eaten in order to lose just one pound of fat. At my current weight and height, I automatically burn around 1,700 calories each and every day just by breathing, sleeping, sitting, and whatever else my body needs to function. I try to eat less than 1,500 calories each day, but of course, sometimes I slip up and eat up to 1,600. No big deal. I’m still  burning at least an additionally 100 calories each day. But, without exercise, that means I would only lose 1 pound every 35 days. That doesn’t work for me. I want to see quicker results- I’m an impatient sort of person, I’ll admit. So, I also take bike rides 5 days a week. Each bike ride burns no less than 150 calories for me. That’s over and beyond what I’m eating, so that’s another 750 calories each week burned off. (By only limiting my calories, I burn 700 calories each week). I also do strength training with weights, and a set of core exercises about 4 times a week. That burns off about 50 calories a work out total, and another 200 calories per week. I’m up to 1,650 calories burned each week. That’s equivalent to half a pound each week.

The good news is this: the more you weigh, the quicker you lose weight. If someone else did what I do, but they weighed 200 pounds, they’d be burning off at least 2 pounds a week, if not more.

Dieting Foods That Don’t Taste Like Diet Foods

Ah, this is a big one. I told you: I hate dieting, and I hate diet foods. But through experimentation I have found a few that are pretty darn good. Here they are:

  • Alouette Spreadable Cheese, Portion Sized: 40 calories per serving; this can be added to any type of food, although I enjoy eating one by itself when I’m just a tiny bit hungry.
  • Rice Cakes/Popped Corn Cakes (specifically the white cheddar cheese and apple cinnamon kinds): around 50-60 calories per serving; this make a delicious snack on their own, or I like to add them to my breakfast and lunch meals to kind of fill things out
  • Skinny Cow Ice Cream & Candy: calories vary, but all are fairly low; this taste just as good as the real thing, but with a lot less calories. If you have a sweet tooth, you need to stock up on their items
  • Sobe Life Water (specifically the orange tangerine kind- it takes just like orange jello!): 100 calories per whole bottle; not only is this low in calories, it is VERY high in the nutrients. I found this just last night, and I was hesitant to try it. I don’t like Gatorade or powerade. I also don’t like ‘fitness’ or ‘health’ waters either. But I love this Sobe Life Water stuff.
  • Mio: calories are like 10; Mio is great if you ever get sick of water, and want a bit of flavor. They have some kind of strawberry flavor that is to die for.
  • V8 Splash: calories vary, but around 70-80 a serving. I’m not big on plain old juice either, but I really like the V8 Splash line. The calories are low, and the nutrients are pretty high. The drinks are pretty sweet too, so sometimes a cup of this stuff is all it takes to kick my sweet tooth craving.
  • Honey Wheat Bread. I’m not sure about the calories, but I know it’s less than white bread. I despise regular whole wheat bread. I can’t stand it- it makes me sick just thinking about eating it. But Honey Wheat Bread is absolutely delicious.

I’m afraid that’s about it, but just adding those few things into my diet has helped me a bunch. They all taste great, are fairly filling, and most give you a good boost of nutrients which helps you to be and stay healthier. Has anyone else found any dieting food that doesn’t taste like dieting food? Let me know in a comment on this blog! I’m open to trying whatever, but honestly- most diet foods taste like crap. Plain and simple.

On a last note, for anyone else who is currently on their path to a slimmer and healthier person, here are just a few quick tips that I have found work:

  • Portion control
  • Counting calories (even if you literally start by only counting them, and not limiting them at all.)
  • Exercising for a few minutes before you eat breakfast in the morning (this burns pure fat, instead of daily calories)
  • Doing something active that  you can get excited about. For me, that’s biking. I can last longer, and it gives me a sense of freedom I just love.
  • Talk about it. Blab about it. Heck, annoy people to death with it! I think my husband, 2 brothers, and 2 sisters must be plain bored to death about all of this talk! But I keep talking, because it makes me feel good about myself, and it also keeps me focused and excited.
  • It helps if other people are trying to do it to. My one brother is also trying to lose weight. He’s jogging, and hitting up the gym. He’s lost a total of 22 pounds I think, and he tends to keep me motivated a bit better. My one sister is also trying to lose weight, and we talk about it to one another a lot. She does the same thing as me, only she substitutes biking for the treadmill. She’s lost 16 pounds at last count I think. Sure, no one goes biking with me or anything, but knowing that other people are successfully trying to lose weight lets me know that I can do it to. We’re all on the same basic page, so we can help one another along.



5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: 10 More Healthy Snacks On The Go | Pen Possessed
  2. Trackback: 10 Healthy Snacks On The Go | Pen Possessed
  3. janna hill
    Sep 03, 2012 @ 12:18:19

    If I hear someone say ‘diet’ I think ‘what color?’


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