I get many questions about what/how much I eat as I continue to blog my way through my journey. As I’ve already written about, I ended my professional yo-yo dieter career the day of my Lap-Band surgery. I totally committed to making this a lifestyle change I could live with forever… and that for me meant no dieting, no deprivation. Again, I eat most of what my family is eating, just a lot less. I eat a much more ‘normal’ diet now than I did in my dieting days.
BUT… there are a few things that I definitely do and eat now that I didn’t before, so I’ll share those with you.
1. I try to eat around 20 grams of protein per meal.
For me, this was hardest at breakfast as I’m usually busiest and tightest in the mornings. Protein shakes are just not my favorite, and as they’re also a ‘slider’ I end up being hungry too soon (I know breakfast shakes work well for others though).
I solved this problem by concocting my own high protein oatmeal. I cook enough for 2 days at a time and then I’ve got a quick breakfast. I slather it with as much low-cal maple syrup (and/or berries when in season) as I want and I really don’t get bored with eating this every day.
It’s super thick oatmeal when it cools a little (more like the consistency of thick peanut butter), so it’s not a slider and keeps me satisfied until lunchtime.
The recipe (makes 2 servings): use 8 oz. milk, 1/3 C of instant oatmeal, 4 scoops (*comes with a scoop) soy protein powder (natural/unflavored), 4 scoops* of Benefiber. Cook in the microwave for 3 ½ mins.
I focus on the protein (usually meat) first at lunch and dinner… usually about 4 oz., not hard to do.
2. I try to eat as few as possible ‘diet foods’.
As a professional dieter I was familiar with every low-cal, low fat, low-carb diet food out there (I came home with carts full and ate carts full). I’ve learned over the years how bad most of that stuff is for you. (i.e. take a look at what they replace the fats with in low-fat foods usually carbs). I’ve learned that not all fats are bad for you and ‘real’ food is much better for you than processed foods (most diet foods are highly processed).
I buy almost nothing that is ‘diet’ food, with a few exceptions. I have a huge sweet tooth and can’t live without chocolate. I realize that artificial sweeteners are terrible for you (I drank my weight in Crystal Lite daily before) and I know there’s some truth to the fact that eating anything with a sweet taste, even artificially sweet, will keep you craving more.
But knowing that deprivation is a recipe for disaster for me, I indulge in some artificially sweetened chocolates every day (Russell Stover, Sugar Free eat more than a few and the sugar alcohols will give you gas and diarrhea like I said, not great for you, but you won’t eat many LOL), and I love regular dark chocolate in small amounts as well. I also use artificially sweetened/sugar free syrup on my oatmeal every morning. These are really the only two ‘diet’ foods I buy/eat. I’ve even switched from decades of drinking skim milk to drinking 2% (check the difference in sugar that’s added to skim milk to make it taste like something).
3. I eat/drink way more of these than ever before.
Nuts: High in protein and fiber, a great snack item, and one that I can’t eat too many of without getting stuck, so they’re easy to limit.
Dried fruit: I was having a hard time getting in enough fruit the tighter I got in my Band journey, so dried fruit helped give me some variety and the nutrition from the fruit without the volume. You have to chew these to death, so you’ll eat them slowly. Watch for added sugars and the calorie count like I said, in the beginning I could have eaten a lot of these and it would have been deadly as their high in calories now, a dried apricot or two is perfect.
Vitamins and Supplements: You need them. Take what your Dr. orders.
Water: Yes, I’d tried the 8 glasses a day with diets before, but now it’s second nature. Once I realized that getting enough water was directly relevant to my weight loss (not to mention the times I thought I was hungry when really I was thirsty a novel idea for me) I made sure I had enough and now it’s easy. Obviously, when you drink is a critical rule to keeping hunger at bay, so avoid drinking with meals.
4. New items I look for ‘better’ foods and choices now for my whole family.
We no longer eat regular pasta, we all eat whole grain. We don’t eat white bread or buns, just 100% whole grain. We eat more brown rice than white (and I’m working to wean everyone off the white). We’re all trying out new items like quinoa and I’ve substituted Greek yogurt for sour cream in our house.
I’m currently on the hunt for a source of soy noodles to try. These aren’t ‘diet’ foods, they’re real, more unprocessed foods that are better for you than previous process choices we made. I’m always aware of better choices I can make that can benefit the whole family.
If you’re looking for a ‘Lap-Band Diet’ or recipe book, I’m not your gal. For me that’s counter-productive to my success. But there are a few modifications I’ve incorporated into my lifestyle of eating ‘normally’. They are simple things that help me meet nutrition needs more easily, or satisfy my sweet tooth without blowing my weight loss, while still eating everything, in moderation. I hope reviewing these differences in my daily diet will help you too.