Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Balancing the Diet Budget

Those that know me personally know that about a year and a half ago, I started out on a journey to lose a whole mess of weight. So far I've lost about 65 pounds and have another 20-25 left to go; I have to say that I feel the best I have ever felt.

Part of this process has been recognizing certain things about how I eat and how I have eaten my entire life. To this point, the biggest focus of my diet has been calorie restriction. This means that I have not paid a ton of attention to what I eat but instead have just been eating a heck of a lot LESS of it. This combined with exercise has drastically helped me to lose the first 65 pounds. It's also taught me a lot about foods that are better for you than others as well as the fine art and smart practice of reading food labels. I've learned what appropriate portions look like (as in an actual serving of pasta instead of the American idea of a serving) and how to cook just enough for one or two people. It's been a great experience.

All of that said, there are several things I have NOT been paying attention to in this process - namely the amount of fat, sugar, sodium, and cholesterol I have been taking in. Then yesterday I had a rude awakening when I was looking over my Livestrong for the day. My sugar count was as 399% of my recommended for someone trying to lose 2 lbs/week at my current weight.

That's right... sugar count at 93 grams. And look at how low my fat & cholesterol are! Bad - you betcha. That was before dinner which was Chili Mac... which surely would have raised some of those low numbers, but more sugar surely would have been added in the pasta and chili.

Needless to say - this was the slap in the face I needed. My family has a history of diabetes and so a reduction is necessary for me to stay healthy long term. My diet is not terribly well balanced - clearly - so some changes need to be made in order for me to get on the track I want to be on.

I immediately went through the list and found the heavy hitters for sugar and thought of ways that I could lower my sugar intake. The biggest culprit was the yogurt I was eating. The prepackaged, preflavored yogurt I had yesterday offered up 29 grams of sugar - which is over the recommended for my pre-exercise calorie limit! By going to the store and buying plain yogurt, fresh strawberries to mix in, and flavoring it by adding vanilla & cinnamon I decreased the sugar count to 10.1 grams - a 19 gram reduction! Another heavy hitter is the granola bar that I chose for myself this week; it offers up 13 grams of sugar per serving. Next week when I'm out of granola bars, I'll be switching this out to one serving of nuts instead (probably almonds or cashews - yum!).

Here is what today's totals look like after adjusting my almond milk (unsweetened vanilla instead of sweetened), switching the yogurt, and making sure the sugar count in my lunch was under 10 grams:

This is before dinner, but as you can see I'm about 35 grams down from yesterday - which is a positive move! My sodium is pretty darn high, but that's due to the can of soup I had for lunch today (gotta love the high sodium in canned soup... or something... chug chug chug the water!). Next week I'll be making further adjustments to raise the low and decrease the high, but overall as I move into the homestretch of my weight loss I'm excited to be balancing my diet and becoming more and more aware of the things that I eat.

What do you do to keep your diet balanced?


Kimberly Pye said...

The best thing I ever did for my diet was give up meat!

BTW, what's up with Livestrong's "OH MY GOD YOU'RE FIBER IS SO HIGH!"?? I'm thinking that's not ever really an issue...

Kimberly Pye said...

And what's up with my YOU'RE when it should be YOUR??

Anonymous said...

Hi Danielle! I have to admit I never read this so I don't know what your typical menu is but here are a few of my tricks:

- 2 teaspoons of healthy oils a day. (olive oil or caonola oil usually) This is easily added to veggies, stir fry, or pan fried chicken. this helps with getting healthy fats in.

- You mentioned nuts, and avocado is good for the healthy fat too.

- In your yogurt mixture try adding some oats. Mix it all up together the night before and the oats absorb the yogurt and fruit and it's really yummy and filling.

- This is a trick I used to do and will try to do more this summer: use the food processor, throw in frozen cherries, some plain yogurt, a pinch of splenda and process. It's yummy cherry softserve ice cream and a fruit serving!

- Don't drink fruit juice. That's a big sugar spot. have whole fruit and drink some water instead.

Thanks for the reminder of soem of these things!

- "Louise"

Mary said...

I don't do as much as I should to keep my diet balanced, but I know I need to do more! I am so used to Weight watchers that I don't really know how to count calories and fat, fiber etc the way I should! It's shameful and I should learn, I think I will check out the myplate!