Semi Homemade Dieting with Gretchen
One of the first things I came to realize when I started this blog (oh so many eons ago) is that when it comes to weight loss–and healthy living in general–everybody’s got an opinion. Everyone has a different method that worked for them, everyone has feelings about this or that or the other. Low fat! Low carb! Paleo! Atkins! South Beach! Weight Watchers! Jenny Craig! Home food delivery services! Gluten-free! No sugar! Cheat days! Meatless Mondays! 100% clean eating! Don’t eat white colored foods! Only drink clear liquids!
And, sure, that’s a lot of options (and really I’ve just skimmed the surface), but it’s kind of a great thing, right? I mean, it’s wonderful that there are so many different methods and programs and diets and lifestyles that people who are looking to lose weight, get fitter, feel better, whatever, have to choose from. The thing is, once you become open about your own health/weight loss goals (like by, um, writing a blog about it, I guess?) all those opinions… start heading your way. And that’s when it starts to get a little overwhelming.
For a long time, I’ve been pretty firm in the mindset that I don’t *NEED* a program in order to lose weight. I considered myself the queen (princess?) of fad diets for so long, once I started this blog I swore (in the dramatic, stamp my foot on the ground, fist in the air kind of way) never to rely on another person or program or instructional pamphlet again. I mean, sure, calorie counting in and of itself is a kind of method, I suppose, but it’s not dictated by anyone other than myself and, like, science. And I don’t need to pay anybody to do it. But, that said, we all know that for the past year+ my weight has just been going in circles without any real PROGRESS. And not trying something on principle or out of stubbornness is pretty bratty (though, let’s be honest, so am I). But! I really am trying to become more open minded about the whole thing. A few of you guys have encouraged me to give Weight Watchers a try, others continue to show what the golden rules of Paleo can lead to. And I really am looking into things and trying to figure out what might work best for me, because I don’t want to be stuck anymore. But in the meantime, until that point, I know I just have to try–and I mean really TRY, not the complacent half-assery that I’ve been doing for the past Lord-knows-how-long–to stick with what I know works. What worked for me in the past, and what should work for me again if I actually stuck with it for more than like, a day. (And I’m three days strong so far, so HA!)
See, pretty much every single thing in my life boils down to the fact that I am incredibly lazy. So when we talk about cooking at home, sure, I get my moments where I want to play Top Chef in the kitchen and craft transcendentally delicious meals with plating so beautiful it would bring a tear to Tom Colicchio’s eye. But most of the time I’d rather zap up a bowl of Chef Boyardee in the microwave and call it dinner. Mmm-mmm-good? You betcha. Healthy? Not so much. And sure, I bet there are a lot of you out there that are like, well, you just have to MAKE yourself be good. You just have to FORCE yourself to cook at home 6/7 nights a week and to buy only “good” things at the grocery store and be healthy… and eventually you’ll train yourself to WANT those things. But, and here’s where that innate brattiness comes back in, I don’t like to be forced to do anything. In fact, I my innate response to trying to make myself do something is to say, “Screw you, self! I do what I want!” and then order a pizza.
So, instead, I find the happy balance. I embrace the fact that I’m never going to be the kind of person who hand-prepares 100% of her meals, and when I do, they’re not always going to be infallibly mean, clean, and green. But most of the time, they’ll probably be pretty close. So isn’t that good enough? I mean, hey, if Sandra Lee can make an entire Food Network show out of mixing homemade with store-bought, why can’t my diet be like that too?
Let’s take what I ate yesterday, for example. For breakfast, I had two strips of local bacon, a slice of whole wheat bread with Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter, and a bosc pear. For lunch, I had fresh strawberries and some chili that I bought from the farmer’s market. For my snacks, I had a laughing cow cheese wedge and an entire container of hummus with baby carrots (granted, I should NOT have had the entire container, but let’s not really focus on that) Then, for dinner, I cooked up a thai chicken sausage (that I also got at the farmer’s market), 1/2 a cup of coconut rice, and a salad with red onion, pineapple, and poppyseed dressing.
And yes, I’m a terrible blogger and only managed to take pictures of my dinner. HOWEVER! If we look at everything I ate yesterday, I think I struck a pretty good balance between whole, clean foods (pears, strawberries, carrots, hummus, salad, and arguably, bacon) and convenience foods (bread, laughing cow, salad dressing, and arguably, white rice). The chili and chicken sausage I’m torn on because I did buy them pre-made (essentially) but they were made from all whole foods with no preservatives or unpronounceable things on the label. So you guys can decide, haha. Regardless, I came in with my net calories for the day being around 1562, and was pretty happy about the amount of food I got to eat.
So! What I’m trying to say with this overly wordy post is that, until I decide to really commit to a different way of managing my diet–and I honestly am looking into various options–I think I’m okay with sticking with what I know. A happy mash-up of convenience and clean–a semi-homemade diet. Still with room for eating out upon occasion because, as you all know, I fracking love to eat out.
What diet/program/lifestyle/food philosophy (ha!) do you subscribe to? And I’m interested in hearing whether you consider it to be for life, or if it’s for weight-loss specific purposes.