Thursday, February 01, 2007

I'm Hungry!

It wasn't enough for me to make a commitment to exercise more efficiently. Noooooo. I want to lose weight too. 2007 has got to be the year that I lose these 15 pounds that I have packed on since 2002 and the 5 that I didn't lose from the first time. When you get to the maintenance part of a diet plan, you become a little spoiled. You can relax the rules a bit and eat a little bit more than you did while losing weight. I have been wanting to have my cake and eat it too. I want to continue to eat like I am on maintenance but still lose weight. Apparently, this is not going to happen. I have tried many things over the past few years and always lose a few pounds initially but when I see progress, I tend to start eating more and of course the weight loss stops or my weight goes back up.

My latest attempt is to try a 1500 calorie meal plan from the Quaker oats website. After all, I eat the Weight Control Oatmeal for Breakfast every morning and love it. With a little butter and cream, it is absolute heaven. At first glance, it seemed like quite a bit of food and I guess, relatively, it is.

Here is a typical menu:

1 packet Cinnamon Weight Control Instant Oatmeal
1 cup Lowfat 1% Milk
2 Tbsp Raisins
1 oz Any Other Nut

1 serving Chinese Chicken Salad

Snack 1
1 small Apple

4 oz Rosemary Chicken
2 cups Broccoli (2cups) & 1 carrot
1/3 cup Brown Rice

Snack 2
1 cup Lowfat 1% Yogurt
1 cup Honeydew Melon

This menu is a close replica of the way I would like to eat. I have a few problems with this menu and I've had to make a few modifications to suit my tastes. Firstly, unless I'm eating cereal or cookies, I don't drink milk so the 1 cup of milk for breakfast is a problem. I've been using 1 cup of Calorie Countdown "milk" to make my Yerba Mate in the morning instead. Much tastier than making my Yerba Mate with just hot water. The breakfast is also seriously lacking in extra protein and fat. Yes, there is protein powder in the oatmeal but, not enough to sustain you for the 3 to 5 hours until lunch. The protein in the nuts won't sustain you until lunch either. Before, I started eating by this plan, I would always add 1 or 2 sausage patties to the oatmeal and it helped keep me full until at least 1:00. Because of the lack of protein in the breakfast, I am struggling to make it to lunch. I was in a meeting on Tuesday and my stomach starting growling at about 11:00. I try not to eat lunch before 1:00 because if I eat much earlier, I'll be grazing in the late afternoon to stave off hunger. Which brings me to my next complaint.

Why is there no snack between breakfast and lunch? I would much prefer to have a snack between breakfast and lunch than after dinner. If I eat after dinner, I'll be eating for the rest of the night. Dinner and my cup of dessert tea/coffee is my signal that eating is done for the day. So, I put the after dinner snack between breakfast and lunch. This meal plan also requires that you portion things out which I don't intend to be doing for the rest of my life. I didn't lose my weight the first time by measuring my food and I still managed to lose 40 pounds. It's not a habit I want to form. I can see myself getting obsessed with it just like I'm obsessed with avoiding sugar and the carb counts of what I eat. I don't need anything else to obsess about.

I've also been modifying some of the meals. Quaker's Chinese Chicken salad has become a regular chicken salad. I don't have any grilled chicken breast (besides that, I hate white meat chicken) prepared, so I've been substituting 2 boiled eggs and shredding the meat from a baked chicken leg or thigh so I can have some protein on my salad. I'm also sacrificing by using vinaigrette when I really prefer creamy dressings like ranch. Hey, it's a five day meal plan (you're supposed to go back after the initial 5 days and create a new 5 day plan). I can make some sacrifices for 5 days. Why make rosemary chicken when I've got a chicken and chick pea stew already cooked in the fridge? I just put everything into Fitday to make sure I stay within the 1500 calories. I also don't eat the rice that they have planned for dinner. As a rule, I don't eat carbs with my last meal. The second day's menu called for a grilled chicken breast sandwich for lunch. I don't have any grilled chicken breasts but, I've got plenty of veggie burgers in my freezer. So, I am working this meal plan around what I already have in the house. Of course, I tend to eat healthy anyway so this was not a big challenge for me.

I am not hungry at night because the dinner is pretty big when you count all those veggies. I've only been able to eat 1 cup because there is just no room on my plate for two cups of veggies. 1 cup takes up about half the plate. In the morning though, my stomach is growling before I leave the house. I am used to eating breakfast at 8:30. A later breakfast means I can hold out longer for lunch. I have been drinking my Yerba and eating a piece of fruit when I get to work at 7:00 so I can wait until 8:30 to eat breakfast. On the plus side, I have lost a pound a day and today is day 3. It really is a healthier eating plan and I am so glad they didn't load it up with carby and sugary foods. It also allows for substitutions which is nice. If I do decide to follow it for a longer period of time, I will definitely need to make some tweaks like finding a way to put my sausage patties back into breakfast and still stay within my alloted calories.

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