Eating for Wellbeing – check-in 1
Over a month ago, more like 6 weeks now, I decided to really take a look at my diet and how it affects my overall sense of well-being. I’d come up with a number of different areas that really needed some attention. The goal isn’t so much weight-loss (though I won’t lie: I’d love to lose weight and go back to pre-pregnancy size), as it is to really get a feel for the way that different foods impact how I feel.
Overall, I think it’s going pretty well. I’m not getting through each weekly goal nearly as quickly as I’d hoped. Mostly because I forget. I just pulled out my planner and wrote the next few weekly goals in there as a reminder. However, here’s what I’ve learned so far (in the new order):
Week 1 – Eliminate grazing – this really needed to be first for me. As soon as I started being more intentional about my food intake, I was able to, mostly, ask myself “am I hungry?” before eating something. I have a super strong conditioned response to walking into my kitchen. I’d often walk straight to the snack or sweets cabinet, eat something, and then forget why I’d come into the kitchen in the first place! Even six weeks later, it still takes effort to not do that! But I have settled on breakfast at 7:30, a snack around 10:00, lunch at 11:30, snack at 1:30 (which is when the Little One has her lunch), snack with the kids around 3:30, and dinner at 6:00. That seems like very often, but it’s working for me for now. I feel very strongly that it’s important for my children to see me eat and enjoy a wide variety of healthy foods, and so I almost always sit down with them for snacks and meals.
Week 2 – Add Sugar Free, Grain Free Snacks – I ended up switching the second and first weeks. Not intentionally, but it just kind of happened. However, after (mostly) eliminating grazing, for a solid week I snacked on almost exclusively sugar- and grain-free foods. There was lots of fruits and veggies with dip or cheese-slices. I had (homemade) yogurt, coffee blended with yogurt, and eggs. There was also the occasional salmon patty or sausage. When I began adding some grains back into the snack routine, I quickly realized that it doesn’t work for me to have only grains. So I have snacks like the above, and occasionally add a rice-cake or something to it. Having some fat and protein in each snack helps me to stay full far longer than even a large amount of grains does. Out are chips and salsa, but in are some chips, guacamole or hummus, and carrots or other dipping veggies. I’ll add that eliminating the sugar has been huge. On days where I do have sugar in the morning, I crave it for hours afterward. I’ve had to be quite stern with myself on those days: “you don’t need additional sugar, stop the unhealthy cycle here and reclaim the rest of your day!” After 3-4 hours the craving goes back down. On sugar-free (or at least free of sugar-laden stuff) days my energy is far more stable and I feel so much better.
Week 3 – Grain Free Lunches – in light of what I discovered with regards to my snacks, I’ve already begun reducing my grains. However, I’m not going to completely eliminate them at this point.
Week 4 – Focus on Getting Seven a Day (five’s not enough, folks!) – this will be my next focus. The biggest thing here is for me to settle into a habit that will help me get it, even after I stop paying such close attention. Some ideas are: having a green smoothie with breakfast; enjoying only raw veggies and fruit for afternoon snack (with a little dip for staying power). I already have fruit or veggies with every meal, and often 2-3 servings with dinner.
Week 5 – Playing w/ Protein (as a former vegetarian this is hard esp while reducing reliance on grains)
Week 6 – Sustaining Breakfast
Week 7- Chugging Water
Week 8 - Putting it All Together and Planning for the Future