How many times have you tried to lose weight and think to yourself; “ok today I’m going to be good?” Only to find that you eat like there is going to be a shortage of food in the world and you must store what is left on earth in your stomach? What about using the word “treat”? Have you found yourself saying ok I ate well today so I can “treat” myself? How about restricting yourself? Have you limited what you can eat and placed many food items on a top shelf to collect dust because they are not diet friendly? Only to find months later you dust them off and eat them feeling guilty you have blown months of hard work?
The problem is when you treat food this way you immediately set yourself up for failure. Sometimes there are foods that trigger us to over eat, and until we manage our eating habits its probably best to stay away from it. But there is a whole big world out there and lots of ingredients to explore. When I began weight watchers the word lifestyle was thrown around a lot. I questioned what that meant. What I discovered was it meant a way of life. When you really think about that statement and then think about your way of life with food, how exactly do you want your life to be with food? Do you want to feel like a puppy that gets treats for good behavior? Do you really want to feel like your moral compass is in question swinging from bad to good with everything you take a bite of? Can you really see yourself living on bland boring broiled food for the rest of your life? I know I couldn’t.
If you are like me then you want your life with food to be satisfying, exciting at times and comforting at others. You want it to taste well, and not feel like if you ate a Twinkie today that you have now swung the moral food compass to bad. This is personally why I love weight watchers. Everything is made easy by using the points system. I have a certain amount of points a day and extra for the week. I balance out what I am eating and strive to make healthy choices. Occasionally I don’t want just the “healthy”, I assess what I have in points and then decide what I want to use my points on. Even if you are losing weight in other ways you can still do this too. The trick I find is to make no food the forbidden fruit. Less temptation and less feeling deprived.
In thinking about a lifestyle change I began to experiment with food. I love going to restaurants finding new things on menu and coming home to see how I can make them healthier. Thanks to one of my favorite burger places I have reinvented the turkey burger in numerous ways. I make a buffalo turkey burger with fresh blue cheese on top it saves me many calories instead of using dressing and the taste is fresher. I simply cook the turkey burger then take a tablespoon of buffalo sauce drizzle it over the turkey burger and then add a tablespoon of blue cheese over it. If I choose to use a bun I make sure to choose the healthiest option at the store by reading labels. Other times for just some more fresh and crispness I serve it over lettuce for my own turkey burger lettuce wrap. I have also made my own cowboy turkey burger. Using a just under a tablespoon of bbq sauce 2 slices of crisped turkey bacon and 2 baked onion rings. I keep a bag of frozen onion rings in my freezer and I use about 2 onion rings at a time so the bag last me forever. If I’m in the mood I add a slice of reduced fat cheddar cheese and I’m on my way to cowgirl city. I don’t eat red meat but you can do many of this with lean hamburger. When you learn on how to make many of your favorite foods but in a much healthier way you don’t feel deprived or like you need to treat yourself. If you think about it this way, Of course you will lose weight eating broiled chicken steamed plain veggies and a plain baked potato but can you really see yourself eating that way for the rest of your life? Remember losing is one thing, maintaining is another. If you take the time to learn healthy habits and recipes explore different options and reinvent some old favorites while losing weight you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of success not just a moment in time of weight loss.
One site I absolutely love to get recipes from is http://www.skinnytaste.com/. Gina has a recipe for pasta fagioli which is my personal favorite. Then again it could just be the Italian in me being partial. I also learned from this site that adding a can of diet soda to cake batter instead of all the other ingredients it calls for, saves an amazing amount of calories and still taste great. I made red velvet cupcakes this way and they were great! Take the time search the web for more recipes too! I take many of the recipes and play with them a bit to adjust to my liking.
Remember starting a weight loss journey doesn’t have to mean you are giving up the foods you love it means you learn portion control ways to reinvent favorite foods. For me it also meant I got to learn my kitchen and buy little kitchen gadgets I always wanted. It can be as exciting as you make it and the discoveries you can make are countless! For those of us maintaining the weight loss, is it time to get out of a rut? Is it time to reinvent the cheesecake? Don’t stop exploring! I would like to challenge you all to take a favorite recipe you have and try to make it healthier. See what you can come up with. Share any ideas you have or recipes you use here I would love to read them!