Eat This Not That

January 1, 2012 by staff 

Eat This Not ThatEat This Not That, A year has passed since I began a concerted effort to lose weight. I’ve lost 40 pounds. It’s been an interesting year and I’m grateful for the help the Lord has given me in this life-changing endeavor. I’m working to lose more weight, but I’m pleased with this start.

People have asked how I’ve done it. There’s no magic formula. I don’t believe in magic, but I do believe in the marvelous supernatural help of a compassionate God.

It began with prayer, seeking God and trying to do his will. I’m not perfect, but I’ve learned that what Psalm 37:4 says is true: “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

As I’ve tried to put God first in my life throughout the years, I’ve discovered an increasingly wonderful walk with him – so even if I don’t get everything I want, I have the most important thing – a relationship with my Savior.

So what else have I done to lose weight? Here’s what has helped me:

n Ask other people what works. I made an impassioned plea for help to our Tribune cooking columnist, Ellen Lund, who recommended the “Eat This, Not That!” and “Cook This, Not That!” books (by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding), which I found very helpful. I discovered that some things I thought were low-calorie – like salads with all the fixings and fatty dressings – have many more calories than a lean meat and potatoes dinner.

Call me a carnivore, but I’ll go for meat anytime.

n Count calories. I started looking up calorie counts for foods on the Internet. Fast food restaurants also have charts or can give you calorie-count brochures. These same restaurants are starting to carry posters of the “550-or-less” meals. Many packages tell you how many calories the foods they contain have. Be sure to look at portion sizes. The label may say “25 calories,” but that may be for just a half-cup serving. So if you eat the whole box or can – which contains three servings – you’re eating 75 calories.

n Have some eating plans so you’re not always thinking about food. I have a routine of what to eat for breakfast. Weekends, I like oatmeal – 100 calories per half-cup serving.

On workdays, I eat a 190-calorie, whole wheat bagel with whipped cream cheese or two slices of toast and with a fried egg. Mid-morning, I have a piece of fresh fruit, cut up. For lunch, I have a healthier-style TV dinner or a sandwich with shaved turkey or ham, and a piece of fruit or salad. For dessert, I might have an ice cream bar or a couple of low-calorie cookies.

I love cheap cookies. I buy those 50-calorie devil’s food cookies that you can get at the dollar stores.

For supper, I eat what we cook at home, but I try to eat less.

n Put variety in your diet. I love tuna melts so I make those with lower-calorie cheese. I try not to put so much mayonnaise in the tuna. I also love an old Weight Watchers recipe of 1/3 cup cottage cheese and 1 tablespoon peanut butter, mixed together and put on two slices of toasted bread. I sometimes sprinkle on a few raisins. You can add bean sprouts, but I don’t.

n Find some easy-to-make, low-calorie recipes. Ellen puts some in her column. Those “Cook This, Not That!” books are good.

n Eat more slowly. I play solitaire on the computer when I eat lunch. It slows me down. You could do the same with a deck of cards.

n Find no- or low-calorie beverages. I like club soda and seltzer water (you can buy 1-liter bottles of these for under $1 at the grocery store). I also like decaffeinated teas of different flavors and lower-in-calorie hot chocolate mix. Try to drink more water each day.

n Avoid food commercials on television. I walk out of the room, because when I see them I want to eat. I’ve munched on lettuce salad or popcorn when I’ve watched a cooking show with my husband.

n Don’t eat too many sweets. The more chocolate I ate, the more I craved – and the more I ate. It was a vicious cycle. I also found that I’d get tired more easily after the sugar rush was over. Now, I eat some chocolate as a treat, but not all the time like I used to.

n Walk. I try to walk every evening, depending on my schedule. I wear a pedometer and try to accumulate 10,000 steps each day. I record my steps in a little notebook at the end of the day.

n Get a good scale and weigh yourself once a week. I weigh each Saturday morning. If I’ve gained, I don’t give up. I just keep trying to lose.

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