Friday, May 2, 2008

How I Do It

The below is the program I work, customized for and by me with the guidance of Melinda (my nutritionist) and Ellen (RN at Heart and Wellness). It's working for me, I feel great, and I'm still losing (though slowly, that's expected at this point). As part of my program, I have up to 1200 calories daily that I may consume, more if I exercise regularly (which I do). I still tend to stick to the 1200 calories daily, though on occasion I go a little higher. I have basic guidelines to follow with regards to where those 1200 calories come from. My daily goals are:
  1. Always, always, always, eat protein first
  2. No drinking of any fluids half an hour before or after meals; no drinking with meals
  3. Eat frequently...preferably 5 to 6 times daily; I have 3 "meals" and 2 to 3 "snacks" daily; every snack has protein; I eat approximately every 2.5 to 4 hours
  4. Minimum of 60 g of protein daily; I have set my personal goal to be a minimum of 75 g, and I usually get in between 80 g and 110 g daily
  5. Minimum of 64 oz. of water; my personal goal is 100 oz. or more
  6. Minimum of 25 g of fat, maximum 40 g of fat
  7. 3 to 4 servings (a serving is typically 1/2 cup cooked) of vegetables daily
  8. 1 to 2 servings of fruit daily
  9. 1 to 2 servings of dairy daily
  10. Minimum 25 g of fiber daily, maximum of 45 g
  11. Whole grains to balance out the rest of the day and to get in fiber
I exercise for 35 minutes, 3 to 5 times per week, on the elliptical at a level 11, getting my heart rate up to about 85% to 90% of my maximum heart rate. Then, I stretch out for about 5 to 10 minutes. I also do about 15 minutes of strength training 2 to 3 times per week.

I do my best to select foods/snacks that have single digits (less than 10) for grams of sugar per serving. I personally don't typically eat white flour, white sugar, white rice, white potatoes, etc. anymore. I won't say I never eat them because I do have the occasional treat that may have these items in them. Typically though, I choose whole wheat or whole grain items. I don't eat much bread at all, and very, very seldom eat pasta, even whole or multi-grain. The more refined carbs I eat, the more I seem to crave them. I try to choose foods that are low on the glycemic index.

Most of my "meals" consist of 3 to 4 oz. of lean protein (chicken, fish, seafood, lean red meat or pork), and 1 cup of veggies. At breakfast I don't do meat and veggies, but I do select other foods high in protein along with whole grains. Meals take between 20 and 30 minutes for me to eat if I'm taking the time I should, and putting my fork down between bites so I'm waiting at least 30 seconds between swallows. Most of my meals are between 150 and 300 calories. Snacks are typically between 100 and 200 calories. I also have my regular vitamins and minerals that I take daily.

Given the fact that my pouch can only hold so much, every single item I put into my body needs to satisfy both my nutritional needs as well as my "soul" needs for food. I won't eat anything I don't like...but that doesn't mean I will choose to eat crap just because it tastes good.

I think that a balanced diet that focuses on lean proteins and whole foods like fruits and vegetables and whole grains first, limits or eliminates refined carbs, embraces plenty of non-carbonated (no more soda for me, ever, not even diet) and non-sugared fluids and regular exercise is good for anyone.

I know I've said a whole lot in the above...but it is basically the program I follow. Any food is ok in moderation. ANY food. Choose carefully. Daily, I actually end up consuming anywhere between 100 probably 175 g of carbs. Some folks freak out when they see my carb counts...but the source of those carbs is more important (to me and to Melinda). My carbs are primarily coming from milk, fruit, veggies, and whole grains. Balance is so important.


Pam said...

Love this post! Keeping this one saved for future reference! It is very similar to the guidelines I have set for myself and my eating habits too. It's nice to see it all laid out in writing rather than stuck in my head.

Kim said...

Thanks for posting this, Amy! I would love to see a sample menu or two as I am brand new at this (and cannot wait to be finished with pureed stuff!) and still trying to figure out how to eat 6 times a day!