Previously, I wrote about a minor weight loss in the early 2000’s and over a decade of maintaining that weight loss and overall active lifestyle. Link to Part 1, in case you missed it.
Here is the nutrition portion of my initial and long-term eating habits.
I quit drinking soda pop in 1990, and completely changed my eating starting in 2002 to drop those pesky 15 pounds or so. Not a massive weight loss, but a comfortable size for me to maintain over the years. I am not super athletic or any kind of fitness model, and I am not any kind of nutrition expert, this is how I stay active & fit.
Initially, I was on a strict 1200-1600 calorie daily diet. My daily calories were based on my height and target weight. I ate low sugar greek style yogurt, eggs, or fruit for breakfast. Salad and/or hearty broth based soup for lunch – I was very lucky to work for a large corporation with an excellent restaurant-style cafeteria serving breakfast & lunch where everything was made fresh with great ingredients. My afternoon snack was a protein bar. After work, I went to the gym for a class, worked out with my friend, rollerblading (Hey, this was 2000 after all!) with my Sister, or went home for a BeachBody DVD workout in my living room. Dinner was usually a protein shake, if I was alone, or a light dinner with lots of veggies.
I am nowhere near that strict now. I occasionally log and track my calories on my FitBit app, but I mostly just wing it. Breakfast is usually a protein bar, but I make up for that by eating healthy egg based breakfasts on the weekend. Lunch is still good soup (Pho and Thai soups are so tasty), salad, or sandwich/salad combo. I still exercise late afternoon/early evening depending on my work schedule. Dinner is rarely a protein shake. The majority of the time my dinner is a main protein with veggies and a bit of starch, like rice, potato, or quinoa. I do not snack before bed.
Drive-thru food is just not a part of my life. Sure, I have my annual In-N-Out burger with fries. And there is a gourmet sandwich shop with great soups and salads that I will drive through after a late gym class.
I read and make good choices based on ingredients on the few canned or packaged foods that I buy. No high fructose corn syrup, no corn syrup at all for that matter, no MSG, no chemical sugar substitutes, and zero extra unpronounceable ingredients. We never have chips or cookies in the house. I rarely bake, but when I do everything is made from scratch (using real ingredients like milk, flour, sugar, eggs). I avoid any 3-ingredient “recipes” that consider Oreos or cake mix an ingredient!
Once I surround myself with good healthy food it is difficult to make bad choices. Everything becomes autopilot and portion control is the most important consideration. One guideline is to eat protein portion the size of the palm of your hand, and eat a larger portion of veggies.
Bottom line is to find a nutrition and exercise program that can be your long-term solution. There is no magic pill, or pink shake, that can replace good food and an active lifestyle!