Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summertime, and the eating is good...

Yeah that doesn't really work with the melody of "Summertime", but it's accurate. The eating is very good in our house.

But I have NEWS. Food-related news. I am on a "diet"! I "" it because I stopped thinking about "dieting" as "dieting" 12 years ago when I started going to weight watchers. I prefer to think of it as "rethinking what I eat." Because what good is going on a diet for a month, losing 10 or 15 or 50 lbs or whatever (don't lose 50 in one month, that's not healthy!) and then realizing you can't maintain your new "diet" long term, and gaining all or most back? That's just depressing. As someone who is more interested in eating delicious food than making sure it's healthy (there's something to be said for that, and you definitely can make delicious and super healthy food, but I have a serious sweet tooth and am somewhat lazy), I'd rather just educate myself on my food intake.

I also went to a new ear doctor at the beginning of July who recommended a low salt, low caffeine and low alcohol lifestyle to keep my ear stable (fluid is vital to ears, and a high salt diet will really mess up the equilibrium), so it was then that I started really thinking about what I was eating. Also, when I went to the national DAR meeting at the end of June last year, I was so busy and was basically eating just fruit and yogurt in any spare minute I could find, not the lavish sit-down meals at Old Ebbitt's Grill that we'd enjoyed in previous years (best crab cakes ever!), that I lost almost 5 lbs in 9 days, which made my size 8 capris fit and me very happy. This year, I was just as busy but sadly did not lose any weight , but a week after we got back, I shot up to a somewhat horrifying weight I hadn't seen since high school. I realized an immediate change, a "rethinking" was in order.

Step 1: I began to write down everything I ate. I didn't count any calories, I just acquainted myself with what I was eating. I learned that I snack a LOT. And I make very poor choices when I snack.

Step 2: I downloaded the My Fitness Pal app on my iphone (it's free!). I did start calculating calories after that first week, and then my husband said, you know, I bet there's an app for that. There is indeed. It's easy to input your food and it helps you calculate the calories and other nutritional info. Based on your current weight and height, your normal activity level and your desired weight loss rate, it calculates how many calories you can have in a day. There's a spot to enter in your current weight. And even better, it remembers the food you've eaten before, so if you eat the same thing every day (like I do, for the most part) it's right there and you just need to select it.

Step 3: I actually haven't gotten here yet: exercise. I am lazy and hate to exercise. I walk instead of driving whenever it's possible, but I choose not to count it as exercise, especially since I'm pretty sure each walk is burning less than 100 calories.

Since the day I stepped on the scale and saw the "horrifying weight", I've lost 11 lbs. I've set my app to lose only 1lb a week, and it's been a month, but I'm still overeating (according to their calculations) yet still losing. This makes me think I was horrible, horrible snacker before.

Now this dress fits! Much excitement :)

Fortunately, with the farmer's market just down the street, it's very easy to eat large quantities of nutritious and low-calorie food, like beets, cabbage, zucchini, etc. I'm not overly hungry, and sometimes when I have a very large helping of veggies (such as the night I decided to just cook up all the broccoli, it was a very small head of broccoli and I'm the only one here who likes it) I'm pretty full. The nestle's chocolate chip cookie recipe comes out to 150 calories per ounce of dough. My "big" cookies are about 1oz. I think my big splurge right now is corn on the cob (usually no butter), it looks healthy but it's like 90 calories an ear.... and I can easily gobble up 4 ears of corn at dinner- I loooove fresh corn.

Anyway, that's my current update. Please note: this isn't necessarily right for everyone. It may not even be the best thing for me, but I feel good, I'm healthy (my doctors agree) and I'm sticking to it. The only thing I can recommend is being fully aware of what you eat. If you're not happy with your weight, write down your food intake. Pay attention to your activity. A lot of weight-gain seems to be because people just aren't paying attention to what they're doing. It's far too easy to open that tupperware container of chocolate chip cookies and lose track of how many you've eaten.

Because of my efforts, I'm not baking much (except bread, since I have toast for breakfast every day) unless it's to bring somewhere or give someone. I reallllly want to make some jerky, we bought some at the VT beer festival and it's delicious, makes a very filling snack (even just a couple bites) and it's only 70 calories an ounce! 1oz of jerky is kind of a lot, too.

But now to the recipes. We've been eating a ridiculous number of turkey burgers. At about 300 calories a burger, plus an ear of corn and some broccoli or a helping of corn and blueberry salad, it's a very filling dinner for a decent number of calories. I've also been playing around with a lot of Penzey's spice blends: Northwoods on corn on the cob makes you forget you ever even put butter on corn in the first place, and Muskego Ave seasoning on broccoli will make you devour the entire head of broccoli (unfortunately, both of these blends contain salt so watch out).

Turkey Burgers
recipe adapted from a recipe from the July/August issue of Everyday Food

1lb ground turkey
3T panko
1T whole grain mustard
1t dried sage
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix all together. Form into 5 patties, and grill or broil until done (like 5-7 minutes on each side)

Easy peasy! We've been buying some delish whole wheat ciabatta rolls at the grocery store, which are 140 calories each, although the photos here are of kaiser rolls- we've tried just about every roll they carry. I should dig up my burger bun recipe and just make my own, because those were pretty darn good.

Blueberry Corn Salad
loosely adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

kernels from 3-4 ears of cooked (steamed, boiled, grilled) corn, cut off (however much you have)
3/4-1 cup blueberries (or more, or less)
2T lime juice
1T honey
2T minced pickled jalapenos
1/2t cumin
1/4t chipotle powder (or less)
dash salt

Whisk the lime juice, honey, and spices together, then toss with the corn, berries and jalapenos. 

This is delicious. I've made it like 5 times now. Last night I actually got a little crazy and substituted this for corn and bean salad for our fish tacos. There is about 400-500 calories in the entire salad (depending on how much corn and how many blueberries you use, last night's batch was 312g corn (312 cal) and 300g blueberries (170 cal), and we usually get 6-8 servings out of each batch. Help yourself to seconds!

You also see on my plate onion rings. These are not healthy. They're not exactly unhealthy, since they're baked. They're dipped in flour, dunked in flour/egg/buttermilk and coated in panko drizzled with olive oil. They are ridiculously good, but I haven't made them nor calculated the calories since I started paying attention to my food intake. I'll report back when I figure it out! I like to eat them with storebought BBQ sauce. This is also not all that healthy, but it's my little indulgence!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I tried MyFitnessPal! It was one of the first apps I downloaded. I did it for two days and then sort of forgot about it :). It is a great way to keep track of things, though. I'm a big believer in "calories in, calories out" - balance whatever it is you want to eat with how much exercise you're getting. The more I exercise, the more I can eat...so I exercise A LOT :). Lastly, sore bought BBQ sauce is one of my dirty little indulgences as well - I will slather than stuff on anything!