The Top Three Things I’ve Learned from Changing my Diet and Counting Calories
I mentioned before that I’m counting calories as a means to reset my diet after my San Fran trip. However, it has turned into a lifestyle change and I have learned so much about good eating habits, of what works for me and my body, and of eating balanced meals.
ONE: I NEED MY PROTEIN AND FATS IN THE MORNING
I’ve had breakfasts of fruit and oatmeal, muesli and hemp milk, smoothies, fresh pressed juice and yes, it all does feed me, and I am full for the moment. However, I feel unsatiated during my other three to four meals that happen later in the day.
I am mostly vegetarian and I have found that if I eat my day’s portion of protein (and maybe fats) in the morning, I’m pretty much not hungry when I have my other meals (although, I eat anyways).
So what do I eat? Well, a single egg along with whatever else I’m eating. Alternatively, I make an egg sandwich.
I was actually baking my eggs with some spinach in a muffin tin…but then that proved to be a mess to clean. So then I switched to silicone muffin liners which turned out to be a pain in the tooshie to clean also. I may just hard boil the eggs from now on. I make my egg-spinach sandwich with vegetarian ham, and cheddar cheese on a Weight Watchers Multigrain Flat Roll. I also have veggies with my brekky sandwich. This breakfast is usually 350 to 400 calories (a little more if I throw in a piece of fruit).
TWO: VEGETABLES ARE CENTRAL TO MAKING THIS ALL WORK
They say adult females should eat 7 to 8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. That is actually a LOT of bulk. As a result, it keeps me quite full. I am counting calories so the best bang for my calories-buck is to eat veggies. Specifically veggies and not fruit so that I do not go over what is acceptable for daily sugar intake.
I’ve also found that the more raw vegetables I eat, the less I crave things like chips, chocolate, candy, and grease. If I eat more fruits than veggies, I crave sugar again later in the day like a crazy person.
My favourite veggies to eat are sugar snap peas, carrots, cauliflower, red radishes, bell peppers, and broccoli. Bean saw my Ziploc container of veggies and said that what I had was enough veggies for a week. I was actually kinda scared that it wasn’t enough for the day. Carnivores have a funny perspective.
THREE: COUNTING CALORIES HAS HELPED ME FIND INTERESTING THINGS TO EAT
With an allotment of calories per day and a mostly vegetarian diet, I needed to find ways to get my nutrients. Basically, I have to be smart about what I eat.
I found this awesome recipe for black bean quinoa patties from Runner’s World. Yes, it has Black Beans, and Quinoa, which are good foods to eat for iron and protein. However, this recipe also calls for Nutritional Yeast, which is high in Vitamin B12 (typically found in meat and soy products).
If you’re wondering whether or not they’re tasty, Nathan ate three of the four patties (not at once). I only got to eat one.
Another thing I like to eat is chia-seed pudding. I take two tablespoons of chia seeds (yay for Omega-3) in 5 tablespoons of chocolate almond milk (yay vitamin D, vitamin E, and calcium) and leave it in the fridge over night. I top it off with fruit in the morning.
There are challenges to changing my diet. For one, I am not getting enough sodium. Sodium gets a bad rep, but our body does need the appropriate amount of sodium to function properly.
Another challenge is to plan my meals out the night before. Sometimes earlier if I need to hit up the grocery store. This task does get easier with experience though.
I feel fantastic, and am performing better athletically-speaking. My scale hasn’t budged much, but I am less bloated, and my tummy is looking a bit more toned.
I enjoy what I eat now over what I used to eat. Now when I go out to eat, everything tastes too salty, sweet, or overdone. I find that I prefer the natural sweetness of plain raw carrots, the texture and light taste of cauliflower, etc. I still let myself cheat though. Even when I cheat, I still plan for it. It’s rarely spontaneous. I still want to get close to my daily nutritional needs even if I cheat; thus, I do plan.
Knowing how great I’ve been feeling the past month, I say don’t wait to start eating for the better if you’re considering it.