Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Weight Loss Program: Changing My Eating Habits For Good

I've been thinking a lot of food or more to the point food preparation.  I guess it started during Thanksgiving.  In fact, I haven't checked in for the last couple of days because of it.  Sunday, I was doing my cooking for the week and yesterday, I spent a great deal of time researching some cooking/baking ideas.  I also spent quite a bit of time yesterday logging in recipes that would accurately account for my daily food intake.  Instead of putting "2 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast" I actually inputted all of the ingredients for "Chicken Teriyaki" to get a more accurate account of the caloric and nutritional make up.  So let me share what I cooked this week:

  • Chicken Teriyaki
  • Turkey Burgers
  • Turkey Chili
  • Pumpkin Muffins
  • Turkey Meatloaf w/ oats
  • Guiltless French Fries
  • Mushroom Chips
Chicken Teriyaki is a staple in my diet and I eat it all the time for my protein, occasionally I will even have it for breakfast.  I haven't made turkey burgers or chili for a while so I have some new protein choices for this week.  The turkey meatloaf recipe was new for me and I must say that I do not like it!  I will be looking for a new meatloaf recipe though because I do like "meatloaf" as a protein choice...it's filling.  I loved the guiltless fries and mushroom chips, even though the mushrooms didn't get crispy and just shrunk.

Now, the pumpkin muffins are a work in progress and what reignited this cooking/baking frenzy that was sparked by Thanksgiving.  I adapted a pumpkin muffin recipe from "The Joy of Cooking" and I must say that the flavors are amazing.  Here's where yesterday's research comes into because I made several adjustments to the recipe to make it plan friendly.  I cut out fats and salt.  TJOC indicated that butter would add flavor and moistness.  I decided that I could sacrifice such things.  I substituted water for milk, egg whites for a whole egg and splenda for sugar.  I think the biggest problem was the water for milk because I think it was actually too much water, which made the batter too moist & dense and therefore the muffins took a lot more time to cook inside.  I kept them in the oven and of course that meant that they got overdone on the outside...the inside was pretty good though.  What I realized though was that I can make adjustments to almost any recipe and create something that is new, a little different from what I'm used to but that has great flavor and is good to eat and good for me to eat.  By my calculations the muffin I made was about 79 calories, 2 g protein, 1 g fat and 17 g carbs.

Ok, so here's my plan.  I'm really enjoying figuring out how to adapt recipes.  I think that the flavor level is stronger from "regular" recipes as opposed to recipes I get from the 6 Week Body Makeover (my weight loss program) website.  My plan is to research how to substitute ingredients to make foods that are satisfying both in taste and texture, which will also help to improve my understanding of the science of food/nutrition and cooking/baking AND improve my cooking/baking ability.

Now here's my dilemma.  I have long felt caught between two competing ideas about food.  When I began this program, I believed (and still do) that I needed to change my relationship to food.  To change my paradigm that food is about pleasure and to replace it with one that recognizes food as a source of nourishment for my body that enables it to function.  Taste is not as important as function; the whole is not as valuable as it's parts (I'm not eating pumpkin muffins, I'm eating a carb w/ minimal protein from egg whites, which must be supplemented with another portion of protein to complete my afternoon snack.)  The benefits of this way of thinking is that you are better able to change your emotional connection to food and when, why & how you eat.  The drawback is that the commitment to this way of dealing with food must be strong and be able to withstand feelings of boredom and of being deprived.

But the other idea that I'm wondering about is figuring out ways of creating healthier alternatives for the foods.  I see a certain amount of benefit to maintaining the structure and food restrictions of a particular eating program, while discovering ways to create healthier foods that are satisfying in taste, texture, etc.  The benefits to this way of thinking is that it would eliminate the feelings of boredom or deprivation and also increase your knowledge and understanding of food and how your body reacts to it.  The drawback is of course that there is a much higher chance of returning to old food relationships by overindulging in foods that mimic and/or trigger unhealthy eating patterns and habits.

Personally, I think that I'm in the middle.  I think that within the structure of my program I can create meals that taste good and are good for me.  However, they must exist within the restrictions of my program and if they can't, I can't have them.  If I find a recipe that would consist of too much protein or carbohydrate or even fruit than my portion would allow, it is not an acceptable alternative for me.  I also think that in terms of making lifestyle choices it represents the most practical and sustainable change.

Ok guys, you've convinced me.  I'll let you know how it all turns out.


  1. Alright. You are a weight loss Queen. You are doing well, and now you are worried about ??? I am confused, but you still are awesome. Does this mean that we will never meet at Pats or Ginos ?

  2. I've lived in Philly my whole life and have NEVER been to Pat's or Gino's. Those aren't real cheese steaks, babe. Those our tourist spots!

    Losing weight is easy...keeping it off is something different.