Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Portion tips to eat happy and lose weight

I have to admit that food portions are one of my weaknesses when it comes to losing weight. I don’t like taking the time to measure out my food as I put it on my plate. It is time consuming and a bit frustrating at times. Especially when I am cooking for four, just because I am trying to lose weight does not mean I want to make a meal for my family and a different meal for me.

Also when I go out to eat everything is two to three times more then what I am supposed to have. Everyone wants to know if you want fries with that, even when you order a salad. Taking my kids out for food now feels like a walk in a mind field of food I can’t eat. Excuses, I know. I do know that I am not alone with this. Many Canadians eat 2 to 4 times what they should in a day, calories and food portions.

I have tried the pre-portioned frozen diet meals. They are so small it’s like a snack at times. I still feel hungry after I eat, not a good thing when trying to lose weight. I quickly realized I could eat more, and better if I made my own meals. Of course that means measuring portions. Have you ever seen a 6 oz steak at the grocery store? Most meats are sold in much larger portions then what I should be eating.

I think my real problem is that once I portion everything out on my plate it looks small. I am already dissatisfied, before I even start. 6 oz of meat, ½ a cup of pasta or rice and maybe a cup of vegetables really does not look like much. I love vegetables but when most of the food on your plate is vegetables they kind of loose their appeal.

I have some solutions that give me more control, and help me lose weight.

When I buy my meat I cut it into about 6 oz portions when I get it home. This way I am not tempted to eat the entire steak. OK, I am tempted but this helps me control what I actually eat. I have been able to get 3 to 4 little 6 oz steaks out of one steak from Locco’s. Mind you they do sell large steaks.

This is a good solution for several reasons. I am saving money. I can buy the bigger family packages of meat, usually at a lower price then single steaks. I can cut them into 6 oz pieces and freeze them. Then I just pull out what I need, already portioned. If you do this please use wax paper. Put them on a cookie tray, freeze them and then put them into a freezer bag. Sometimes I freeze the meat with the marinade, or BBQ sauce. This way it marinades itself as it defrosts. Also with the meat already cut into smaller sizes I can give my kids their own steak. They see me pulling out a steak for each of them, not cutting a steak in half and making them share. Same amount of meat, but it makes them feel special because they are not sharing. I completely understand. It is psychological, if I cook a big steak I want to eat a big steak. I feel ripped off if I have to portion it once I cook it. So I pre-portion in advance.

I make my own hamburgers and meat balls. This lets me control the fat content, what goes into them and portion size. Most premade hamburgers in stores are not 6 oz. I make 6 oz hamburgers and that is what I get. I tend to add vegetables into the hamburger mix, mushrooms, celery, garlic, onions, green peppers, and even zucchini. They are all cut very small. This adds flavor and I can usually make a slightly bigger burger. The trick with 6 oz burgers is to add a lot of healthy toppings, like lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onions and pickles. I know one person who adds sauerkraut and another who like lots of bean sprouts on their burgers.

Again my problem is that 6 oz just does not look like much when on a plate. Then I realized I already love a couple of different meals where 6 oz of meat does not look small. And I feel full and satisfied when I am done a bonus when you are trying to lose weight.

Stir fry – I make up the vegetables and meat. I make sure there is 6 oz of meat for each person. That way I only have to divide the meat evenly to get the right portion. Sometimes I will cook the meat separate from the vegetables. I will make two cups of rice. Each person gets about ½ a cup on the plate. I place the vegetables on the rice. If I cooked the meat separate I will usually place it on top of the vegetables. However, it looks like more when you mix the vegetables and meat together. There is a huge variety of flavors I can get out of this basic meal. It depends on the meat, sauces and even what vegetables I use. I can mix and match and have completely different meals every day. Especially if I change between rice, pasta and potatoes each time.

Wraps – I will make hot and cold wraps.

Hot ones will usually have rice, cooked vegetables and meat cooked in small pieces, or cut up into chunks or slices. This is a great way to make limited portions into a meal. I will put rice on then meat and vegetables, sometimes cheese and then roll it up like fajitas. This is a great way to have a full meal. They are easy to change up by changing the meat, vegetables and spices or sauces I use. I could have very different hot wraps almost every day of the week.

Cold wraps and sandwiches usually have sandwich meat or thin pieces of cooked meat. This is great with ham or chicken leftovers. The trick with this is to use a nice mix of vegetables cut up small. The lettuce I cut into thin strips. They kind of fluff up and give the wrap some volume, much more than if I just put a piece of lettuce on it. Volume is good when you are eating to lose weight. It helps make you feel full and satisfied. I cut the tomato into little squares or chunks. Everything else I tend to cut into strips, sort of how they cut vegetables for sushi rolls. This way it is easier to wrap, but I still have a lot of vegetables. I like putting on red onions, cucumber and lettuce. I could try mushrooms, bean sprouts and other vegetables, but I have to admit I like the wraps I make and don’t really feel like changing them up much. Sometimes I have cheese, sometimes I don’t. I can have a lot of variety depending on the meat, how I cooked it, the sauces and spices I use. Even the sauces I put on the wrap or bread makes a difference. I like using diet salad dressing instead of Mayo, because it adds flavor.

Soups and stews are a great way to also get more of a meal from smaller portions. I am not that fond of soups and stews, so I don’t make them very often. But I love Vietnamese Beef Noodle soup, a good way to get more out of a little meat. Not always a good choice when trying to lose weight, the noodles are not my friend. But I can still enjoy Vietnamese Beef Noodle soup as long as I don’t have it all the time.

Chili on the other hand we make all the time. I have to keep in mind how much meat I put in and then figure out how much I can eat. I do try to put more vegetables like beans and tomato’s into the chili. This gives me a larger portion to eat. Sometimes I will put it over rice, or potato to make the meal more filling.

I figure if there is a will there is a way. I am going to enjoy what I eat, even though I am trying to lose weight. It is about being aware of what I eat, how much I eat, and when I eat. I can cut back on portions and still be satisfied with my meals.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Weight Wake-up call

A few weeks ago I stepped on the scale and it tells me I am 330 lbs. That is my weight wake up call.

I knew I had started to put weight on again, my clothing was tight, and some pants did not fit at all. I just did not realise how bad it was. I have been fighting my weight since I was 12 years old. I know what it is like to lose a few pounds, only to put them back on again with a few extra of course.

When I was 12 my family started telling me I was fat. They put me on strict fad diets, not healthy at all. I did them all, whatever was popular they put me on it. The cabbage soup diet is the one I remember the most. I was always hungry. They also gave me appetite suppressants, and other diet pills. They used to make me jittery and I felt sick a lot. Mind you not once did they talk to a doctor about my weight, or what I should and should not be eating. If they had the doctor would have told them they were out of their minds. It turns out I was not fat at all, I was actually right where I should have been for my age and height.

My family had this odd idea that all ladies should be 108 lbs or less. It did not matter about age, or height. So as soon as I passed 108 lbs I was fat. I spent years developing what I call a yoyo diet eating disorder. My mother used to starve herself all day, popping appetite suppressants and high fibre pills. Then she would eat a small piece of baked fish, no sauce. She would have a small amount of plain white rice and maybe some vegetables. No butter, nothing.

My first step dad used to take great pleasure in getting me to eat adult portions. Once he took me out to an A & W and actually let me eat a huge burger, fries and onion rings. I am sure there was a dessert, I just remember being able to eat until I was full. The food was so good I kept eating any way. I think I knew I was unlikely to eat like that again for a long time. Even when I was not on a restrictive diet my Mom was all into health food, junk food was not an option.

My second step dad loved taunting me with the food his kids got to have. I would have to make his kids lunches and put their treats and snacks in. Things like donuts, cookies, chocolate bars and candy. All things I was told I could not eat. They used to tease me about it. Often my Step dad would bring out desserts and treats and the family would eat them in front of me. Telling me how good it tasted, etc. For Christmas they gave me a tin of candy, which they ate of course. All I heard every day was how fat I was. Yet I actually was not. Eventually I said no more. I was still restricted to the food they gave me, but I knew one day I would be free to eat what I wanted. The problem was that I was set into a pattern of fad diets and poor self esteem.

Needless to say my step dad and his kids were jerks. One of the first things I remember him telling me was that on my 16th birthday I was to have my bags packed and to get out because at that point my Mother was no longer obligated to take care of me. I was 12 at the time. My mother is so proud of herself. The only time she stood up for me was to insist that I got to stay until I graduated high school. So at 17 I moved out, probably the best thing that ever happened to me. Though I do think I started eating all the wrong foods as a type of delayed rebellion. If it was something they would not let me eat, I ate it.

For about 8 years my weight was fine. Then I put on a few pounds and started the diet to lose weight and put it back on and more cycle. I did weight watchers and other programs, all worked as long as I actually followed them. Once I stopped the weight would come back with a few extra pounds. Eventually I hit 220 lbs. For years I sat at 220 lbs, which was good because my weight was high but stable. I had children, but my weight was right back to 220 lbs within weeks of giving birth.

I went on Depo-Provera and packed on the weight in a couple of months. I put on about 100 lbs and have been trying to lose it ever since. It turns out that birth control is a common cause for weight gain, and having a difficult time getting it off. That was 6 years ago. I have lost up to 60 lbs only to put 80 back on. I was sitting at 300 lbs for the last year. Now I am up to 330 lbs. My health is strongly affected by this, so is my ability to play with my kids and my relationship with my husband.

It does not matter anymore why I put on weight. I have to lose it, properly and permanently. I have learned all the skills I need over the years of going to weight loss programs. Now I have to start using them. This is not about being skinny or looking good. I need to lose weight to get healthy. I don’t want my children to grow up fat because of the example I showed them. They are perfect weight right now and I would never do to them what my family did to me. I also don’t want to die because I did not bother to lose weight. This is about my life, and the quality of my life. I am taking control back, because I have to or I could die way before my time.

Yes I have some really big issues with food, and eating. I have to deal with them and get on with my life. I need to make better food choices, get away from my desk and do things. Even taking a small walk everyday is better then what I have been doing.

As a form of motivation, or possibly a type of accountability, I am going to document my process and progress on Lady Talks a Lot. I hope what I am going through will help others get up and start losing weight. Also if I know everyone is going to know how I am doing I might find it a little easier to actually do what I need to.

For the last couple of weeks I have worked on cutting down how much I eat. I am still eating junk food, candy and chocolates. That I am slowly reducing. I am going to add some exercise to my daily routine, maybe even play with my kids.

When I checked the scale today I was 318 lbs. So I am down 12 lbs. Let’s see if I can lose another 2 lbs this week.