Tuesday, January 26, 2010

warning: i'm about to tell you what I had for lunch

There is a book about blogging called: No One Cares What you Had for Lunch and so, I thought long and hard about whether I should write this post. But obviously, I decided TO write this post, and here we are.

In December, I wrote about how I had accidentally gained 7 pounds over the course of November and December, and I set to work to amend that just after Christmas. I found it very satisfying to get everything back under control, and I have lost all the weight as of this week. I feel pretty good about that when I pick up 7 pounds of hand weights and imagine running with them.

For any of you out there who, like me a few years ago, have no idea what a good strategy (i.e. not a fad diet) for losing weight would be, I thought I'd disclose my secret weapons. My sitemeter tells me there are about 100 readers a day reading this, and I only know for sure who about 20 of you are, so who knows, right? Just in case anyone could use a little diet talk? I'm here for you. At least I know my friends Suzanne and Ange are always up for a WW pow wow, aren't you, girls.

My strategy is to follow a Weight Watchers model, without actually joining Weight Watchers, or going to any meetings or weigh-ins. The philosophy is simple: pay attention to your portions, eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and fiber. Drink a lot of water. Write down everything you eat. There are no foods you cannot have. That's why it is smart, and why it works. (I am not a WW spokesperson, but I totally would be). You can eat anything you want, but you just have to budget for it, and pay attention to serving sizes. In WW world, every food is given a point value and you have a certain amount of points each day. For example, for my weight and height, I stick to 22 points a day.

Here is a typical day on WW:
Breakfast: Whole-grain English muffin with All-Fruit Spread. Coffee with Silk Creamer. Banana. (4 points)
Lunch: Turkey sandwich on Double Fiber whole wheat bread with baby spinach and tomato. Baked chips. Apple. (7 points)
Snacks: Granola bar. Grapes. Green Tea. Dried Mango. (5 points)
Dinner: Whole roasted sweet potato, broccoli, and one chicken-apple sausage. (5 points)
Dessert: Yogurt with blueberries mixed in. (3 points)

(That is actually 24 points, which is fine, b/c there are bonus points for the week and you also earn points back for exercise, all of which I would be happy to explain to anyone who wants me to).

That's not bad, is it!? I'm definitely not hungry (except for the first week, during which I felt hungry almost all the time) and I feel like it is quite do-able. I followed this plan for 4 weeks, which means I lost just over 1.5 pounds a week, and I've read that you shouldn't lose weight much faster than that.

I write down everything I eat, plus whatever exercise I do on a little chart that I carry around with me. It makes me really happy.

When I first did Weight Watchers two summers ago, I relied too heavily on fake foods (splenda, diet soda, lite ice cream cones, etc.) to get me through the afternoon, my hungry part of the day. I'm being very conscious about not doing that this time. I am eating whole, real foods, as much as I can. I eat a ton of salads, and a ton of roasted veggies, lots of hummus and veggies, and a ton of oatmeal. Sam eats what I eat too, but when I add hot sauce, he adds butter and cheese.

These are some of my stand-by snacks:

Stoneyfield Lowfat Lemon Yogurt with blueberries.

Crispy baked kale. I swear to you that this snack totally satisfies any sort of chip/ fries/ salty craving. It's a whole head of kale, chopped and drizzled with olive oil (very sparingly) and sprinkled with salt, pepper and a little parmesan cheese, baked at 400* for 15 mintues. It is SO crispy and good. p.s. Sam hates it.

Best for the afternoon stretch between lunch and dinner. Almond Milk Chai. My new discovery. Oh my goodness, it makes me so full and satisfied and warm.

Best for an after school snack or before a run. Morningstar veggie burgers are perfect b/c they are so high in veggies and fiber, that they are only worth one point each. SCORE.

Other tricks of the trade are foods that take a while to eat, like dried mangoes (extremely chewy) or a bowl of edamame (in the pod). Then the snack isn't over before you realize you ate something.

When marathon training is in full swing, I shift my thinking totally to fueling my body for runs rather than running to counterbalance my eating. It's a really cool concept, I think.

For the record, I am aware that this may sound like I've crossed the line from health-conscious to weight-conscious. About that. I am very careful to stay right in the middle of what my BMI should be for my height, I am definitely not starving myself, and I am much more interested in being strong than skinny. I am also not interested in a yo-yo pattern with my weight, which is why I nipped this in the bud now. I am learning about how my body gets along with food and running. I am not afraid to indulge once in a while (duh. whole pie.) but I also find great rewards in some discipline and common sense. I hope I'm making sense.

Any questions? Any healthy snacking tips to share?


Karen said...

LOVE the crispy kale!! Such an awesome crispy/salty snack fix, we eat it a lot around here! Thank you for writing this post. I'm really struggling, and everything you wrote was helpful. Thanks. Also, I've signed up for sparkpeople, love the food tracking and calorie tracking (v. similar to the ww points tracking, just... without the points!) Okay, and lastly, I'm starting to train for the half marathon in York in November and your training is inspiring! I'm trying to get my Mom and Sister on board (we're walking it though!)

Carver Fam said...

Oh Em I love you. I love that you love structure and discipline. I love that you set your mind and your will and you follow that trajectory wherever you have decided to set your compass. I LOVE that you take pictures of your food. It cracks me right up!

Angela said...

How is it that you make everything seem so simple and easy? You want to run a marathon - ok - train then run it. You want to lose weight - ok - make a plan, follow the plan, then lose the weight.

I love how you so fully commit to everything you do. Then get it done and move on.

Kudos on the 7 lbs!! :) You make it sound so easy.....

Amy said...

Congrats on reaching your goal!! Totally agree with you re: the general WW approach. Just thinking about actually carrying that extra weight as hand/ankle weights while running might just give me the motivation to get back on the wagon and get rid of my post-marathon/holiday fluff :)

Meredith said...

Emily, I love this post! I've been on/off WW for years (even with marathon training, etc.) and I found it's one of the only plans that works for me. My favorites at the moment are the veggieburger brand black bean burgers (1pt), pickles (0pts), and lauging cow cheese (1pt per wedge).

Trust me, after I pop this baby out, I'll be right back on the plan!

Mo said...

Emilie...I really needed to read this right about now! You're methodical and I'm haphazard...so I guess it's time for me to try methodical!

ambinlovewlove said...

Just when I needed a kick in the booty:) Thanks Emily for reminding me that I don't have to be obsessive about it for it to work-just consistent...

Michelle said...

Great post!!
I just lost 5 1/2 pounds and still counting. How, you ask? Why by cutting out sugar!! I had no idea how addicted I was. I am trying to get myself eating only whole foods. No processed crap. Great snacks for me are crispy, juicy apples and carrot sticks w/ hummous. We eat lots of oatmeal here too drizzled with agave nectar. I also love brown rice w/black beans and a few spoonfulls of salsa mixed in for lunch!

4 lbs to go till the pre preggo weight!!

Elizabeth said...

Dear Ms. Manhart,

I don't know at what point I first stumbled onto your blog, but ever since it has become a "household" name. Yes, I live with two other 23 year old women, and no, none of us currently live in Maine nor are yet mothers. Despite the more superficial reasons why it's a bit funny that we're obsessed with your blog, I don't want them to take away from the fact that we are truly obsessed.

Yesterday, I made Kale crispy baked bits for the third time in one week. Also, a smootie with spinach, and immediately had to text my roommates to tell them about it. I knew Emily would be excited, because one day after peeking over my shoulder to see what I was reading she admitted the next morning that she'd stayed up until 2 reading "Emilie's blog."

Now, though as a rule I always refer to anyone else by their last names until they insist that I don't, Emily (one roommate) and I refer to you as Emilie. Which is never confusing despite the fact that your names are the same out loud. I think it stems from the (perhaps creepy) familiarity we have cultivated as your avid readers.

Emily will make comments such as "Today I bought shorts like the ones Emilie likes." Or, "I think we should rent that marathon movie that Emilie talked about." Or, "I wonder what Emilie has been up to!"

Thank you, for sharing what you had for lunch. Thank you for writing, and for making it available in a public forum so that secret readers like Emily and I can enjoy it too. You and your family are so lovely, and I am so terribly happy that William had the opportunity to learn so much from you.