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The Saturday Skinny: Remember the big picture when trying to lose weight

By: Don Chaddock, Managing Editor
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The holidays are a time of weight gain for many in America, myself included.

Over the course of three weeks in November, I somehow managed to find eight pounds, knocking me back up to 193 pounds on the scale. How did I allow such a thing to happen? Easily. A pumpkin cupcake here, some movie candy there and viola -- instant weight gain.

Rather than falling into the trap of self defeat, I dust myself off and move forward. As of today, Dec. 1, I've managed to drop back down to 188. I need to lose another three pounds to get back to where I was and lose an additional 10 pounds to hit my final goal.

The attitude I have today is one of confidence, not cockiness. I know I can lose the weight if i make healthy choices. Those eight pounds I re-gained? They are a great reminder of why I must stay vigilant. They also remind me this is a lifetime journey and not a short sprint.

When I find myself getting discouraged, I only need to look at the bigger picture. Two years ago this month, I weighed 303 pounds and my youngest daughter was born. One year ago today, I weighed 268 pounds, having lost 35 pounds the previous year. Today I weigh 188 pounds, or 80 pounds less than I did a year ago and 115 pounds less than two years ago. Now, those eight pounds I regained don't seem so daunting. Also, knowing I only have three more to lose to reach my short-term goal seems very achievable.

Why do I share all this? Because I know I'm not the only one battling weight over the holidays. It's easy to fall off the "chuck wagon" (as I refer to it) when there are so many treats readily available at office parties, holiday parties, mixers and family feasts.

We're all human and there will be slips, so I try to be easy on myself and make healthy choices. Did I have mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving? Yes, I did, but only one helping (not three, as I once did). I didn't overeat, that's the key. Regroup and focus to achieve your goals. Don't let self doubt, worry and guilt bury you.

Rather than a recipe this week, we're going to look at some meal plans designed to help you get back on track. This is what I did to drop that excess holiday weight. Do this for two weeks, coupled with regular exercise (30 minutes daily), and watch the weight drop off. Avoid high-fat foods, sugar, alcohol and bread. Try to make your dinner the smaller meal of the day.

Note: Under each category, pick any one.

BREAKFAST
1. Two scrambled egg whites with sauteed spinach or kale, one piece of fruit (apple, banana or orange)
2. 1/4 cup-1/3 cup cooked oatmeal sweetened with fruit (banana, cut up apple or berries)
3. 1/2 cup non-fat plain or vanilla yogurt with cut up fruit stirred in (banana, grapes, etc.)

MORNING SNACK
(two to three hours after breakfast)
Piece of fruit or 6-8 ounces of nonfat yogurt (or some carrots)

LUNCH
1. Large salad (handful black beans, raw spinach leaves, two tablespoons low-fat yogurt dressing). Optional: chopped bell pepper, carrots, 1/4 cup cooked quinoa or brown rice. You may also substitute fresh salsa for the salad dressing.
2. Wrap with whole wheat 100-calorie tortilla, raw spinach or kale, 1/4 cup brown rice, 2-3 ounces shredded or chopped cooked chicken breast, salsa or low-fat yogurt salad dressing (or smear with non-fat plain yogurt). This is a great replacement for the standard sandwich.
3. A meal consisting of a serving of brown rice (1/4-1/2 cup), 4-6 ounces of lean meat (chicken or fish), small salad and five to six slices of roasted sweet potatoes.
4. A burrito using a few spoonfuls of refried black beans (no fat variety), 2 ounces of lean meat (optional), salsa, spinach or lettuce. (May have two.)
 
MID-DAY SNACK
(two to three hours after lunch)
Same as morning snack

DINNER
1. Any of the lunch choices listed above
2. Low-fat crock-pot recipes using lean meat, but limit to one reasonable serving
3. Oven-roasted pork tenderloin, grilled fish or roasted chicken breast (4-6 ounces), a small salad
4. A 20-24-ounce smoothie using one frozen banana, 1 cup chocolate soy milk (or non-fat regular milk), handful of raw spinach, handful of raw kale, 1 tablespoon peanut butter (for protein, or use protein powder) and frozen strawberries. Blend until smooth. This is a meal replacement option and is quite filling. Optional: 1-3 tablespoons of ground flax seed (for fiber and omega 3s).

NIGHT TIME SNACK
1 cup frozen grapes or one piece of fruit

Follow us at Facebook.com/TheSaturdaySkinny. Reach Don Chaddock at donc@goldcountrymedia.com.