As I mentioned before, I was spring cleaning the blog recently, and in doing so, revisited a bunch of our older posts. I re-read a post I wrote on how to eat less when you are busy (and therefore are moving less) and was reminded of a conversation I had with my mom after I posted this piece. She called to say that she didn’t like my post because I recommended switching from coffee with sugar and ½ and ½ to green tea as a way to cut calories in the morning and that that was “unrealistic for most people”. While I wanted to lecture her on self-control and the hard fact that we all must make sacrifices if we are serious about losing weight, the truth was, she was right. We all have what I call “deal-breakers”. These are items in our life that are just not worth living without. For me, that is wine, bread, and cheese. Barring pregnancy, it is unrealistic that I could give up these items for a long period of time. A few days? Sure. A week even (to follow a clean eating week like FITmama talked about last week)…definitely! Forever? Not going to happen. The fact is, life is too short to live without wine, bread, and cheese. For some, this item in their diet is a sweet. Others, coffee with ½ and ½. We all have them. The important thing is to pinpoint these deal-breakers and figure out a way to co-exist with them. Don’t fight them – they will win…every time. How is it that I can eat bread and cheese and drink wine and not gain weight? Moderation and portion control. I can’t drink a bottle of wine and I can’t eat a whole loaf of bread. I also can’t have bread and cheese at every meal. Here is an example of how I live with my deal-breaker: Breakfast is oatmeal with banana and flax (no sugar) and a 8 oz cup of coffee with ½ and ½ and agave. Snack is a piece of fruit. Lunch is a salad with tons of greens and a protein (no bread, no cheese). Snack is a ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds and dinner is 2 slices of homemade pizza and a glass of red wine. I controlled my dairy, carb, and sugar intake during the day so I could have the pizza and wine. I should also mention that I usually exercise for at least 30 minutes every day and walk my dogs for at least 3 miles. Now for the next two days, no wine, and either no cheese, or a little feta sprinkled on my salad. As for bread? Perhaps I have a piece of toast with avocado for breakfast. But that is it for bread for the day. Make sense? I don’t say to myself, “I will not eat bread or cheese ever”. I say “how can I eat bread in a controlled and moderate way”?
Honestly, I don’t restrict myself. I hate the word diet and the second I say I can’t have something, I want it more and I obsess over it. So I have learned to co-exist and I recommend this to my clients as well.
So mom…as usual, you were right. Giving up coffee and cream is unrealistic for most people. So when they need to cut a few calories, that is probably not the place to look. Perhaps, it is switching from sandwiches to salads for the week or skipping dessert. Restrict the item you don’t care about and keep the ones you do.