The No-Excuses Diet

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Since moving to Utah five years ago, I’ve gained 30 lbs.  Can you believe it?  Well, no-neither could I.  Stir together a dab of depression, five pints of self-pity, a ton of teen-ager angst, cold winters spent indoors and a 100 wheelbarrows full of high calorie foods and there ‘ya have it.  The problem is, I have a carnival-type mirror in my mind that distorts the view making me perennially skinny, which, I guess, is better than perenially fat, but still not reality. But photos don’t lie.  Okay they fib a little maybe, but mostly they say things like, “Honey, you have such a beautiful face…” and you know what comes after that.

So.  I took one last wide-eyed look at myself and said simply and very firmly, “NO MORE EXCUSES.”  That was about 6 weeks ago.  Since then I’ve lost 13.5 lbs (picture that in raw hamburger-it’s a lot) very painlessly.  Here’s how it works ( my rocket-science mind came up with this all by myself):

Eat Less.

Profound, yes?  I count calories.  The great thing is, every food has them, so you don’t have to hunt to find them-calories, I mean.  Every allrecipes.com items have them posted, and tons of sites besides (Sparks, for instance).  Since this isn’t a diet but a life, I don’t freak out if John takes me to dinner.  I just pray and ask the Lord what he’d like me to eat.  Not to over-spiritualize or anything, but really-isn’t everything spiritual whether we like it or not?  I mean, everything affects everything else, ultimately ending up in the Big Scheme of Things, and since I will ultimately answer to God, I think I should ask His opinion on stuff.  But that’s another blog.  Okay.  So I give myself 1300 calories per day tops to lose a pound a week, and then reward myself with a few hundred less about 4 out of 7 days and use the leftovers for stuff like going out with John, since I can’t really know how many calories were in my “sizzling rice soup” (one evening) or the “southwest chicken salad” (the next).  We don’t go out to dinner much which is a good thing, but we went out twice last week ‘cuz he took two days off to celebrate no teenagers in the house.  I still managed to lose a lb.  But here’s what I’m learning:

1.  God does have an opinion about this stuff, so ask him to be your Personal Trainer.

2.  Don’t go hungry.  Unless you’re fasting and then it’s none of my business.

3.  Find some things you love to eat.  My personal favorites (i.e. I could pretty much eat these morning, noon and night):

Burritos made with no-fat whole grain tortillas (recipe to follow, eventually) 1/2 cup black beans, 2 T. grated cheese, 1 T. really good Greek yogurt

(My fave:  Fage 0% fat) and a shake of either hot sauce or taco seasoning.  Total: Yummy and 250 cal.  If I want to bank some calories, I cut the beans to 1/4 cup and the cheese to 1 T.  (T. means measured tablespoon for you non-cooks).

Fage Yogurt 0% the Supreme Being of yogurts.  I put Splenda or Truvia to taste and vanilla.  It is so creamy, it satisfies the “if I don’t get ice cream I’ll scream” craving.  130 calories for a cup.

Cookies because “man does not live by bread alone” and neither do I!  I buy the little box or bag-type cookie mixes-the kind that says the mix alone is 110 calories for 2 cookies.  Then it says something like add a bucket of butter, an egg, etc.  I don’t.  I add one of two things:  water or water and egg whites.   Egg whites (2-3) make the cookies chewy.  I know, I know- I could add applesauce, or pureed prunes, or mashed banana, but I don’t like cake-textured cookies, and for some reason, I don’t like try to trick my tastebuds into liking what they don’t like.  Anyway, I don’t know how much water I add-maybe a half cup (NOT runny dough, please!) and pop ’em in the oven.  My favorite:  anything chocolate chip or chunk.  For some inexplicable reason, I’m pretty good at limiting myself to two but if I really want to binge, I eat four in a day.  I’ll even eat the raw dough, BUT I have to count that too.  Usually I don’t make the eighteen cookies or whatever it says it serves.  I make the cookies twice as large and of course, then each cookie is 110, but they LOOK like I’m not dieting and I like that.  So I don’t eat four of those.  Ok maybe I do 🙂 if I’m having a “Cookies and nothing but cookies” day-but I don’t like the coma that follows.

3.  Walk.  Nothing crazy, just find a view you like and walk it.  A golf course, a park, a mall.  I HATE treadmills.  I am not a hamster.  The word alone should give us a clue:  Tread: rhymes with dread.  Mill: a device for grinding a solid substance to powder or pulp.  Who wants that?  I will, in a pinch (or an extra cookie) defy my better judgement and get on a treadmill, but I rarely last longer than 20 minutes and grouse and gripe all the way.    My husband and I like the mall-and yes we’re old but not that old-which makes us the youngest of the mall-walker set and that’s always good.  Joke all you want, but come winter I won’t be the one in a cast from walking on icy sidewalks.  I did that last year.

4.  Walk again later.  Gets rid of stress, and gives my feet something to do when I’m on the phone with my sisters.

5.  Drink water.  I hate this.  How can anyone “hate” water.  Easy.  My grandmother did.  My mother did.  I do and so do my daughters.  Some sort of wacky genetic disorder I guess.  But since we all have to do things we hate (like clean the toilet and laundry), I’ve added this because, well-it WORKS.  I picture my fat cells screaming in terror as they white-water raft right out of my body with every glass of clear discomfort.  8 glasses.  Or 4 big ones. Just DO IT.  Or improvise.  Slice a lime, put it in a 2 qt. pitcher and fill with water.  Then add a Crystal light or store brand equivalent.  Favorite:  Lime Margarita something-or-other.  No, it doesn’t have alcohol.  I can drink LOTS of this.

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