Tuesday, February 21, 2012

If this post doesn't help you lose weight, then I give up

I can't tell you how much my life has changed since I've been eating low carb.  If I had had any idea, I would have done this a long time ago.  I know my Kiwi ex is reading this thinking, "Linda, we did the low carb thing for years and you know it worked brilliantly."  And it did.  But when we split up, I got away from it and man, that was not a smart thing to do.  Now I'm back at it, and fingers crossed, this is how I'll be eating for a long, long time.

A few of you have asked what exactly I'm eating and not eating.  Here's my basic strategy:
  1. For the first three days, cut way, way back on carbs.  For breakfast, have eggs (I'll have three eggs, but use only one yolk).  Cut up some spinach and throw in some cheese.  Top it off with salsa--delicious!  For lunch and dinner, have chicken or fish with vegetables.  If you do this for even two days, you'll see a noticeable loss and will be motivated to continue.
  2. I usually start every morning with a high fiber cereal.  You need some carbs for energy and fiber is good.  Make chicken or fish with vegetables a regular meal.  Salad is okay; I just hate stinkin' salad.  Be sure to read the label on the salad dressing, though.  Sometimes that stuff is loaded with sugar.
  3. Think of all the fast food and chain restaurants you go to and download their nutritional menus.  Print them out and stick them in your glove compartment so you can always make the best low-carb choices.  Get a burger without the bun, and substitute a vegetable for fries.  French fries are evil!
  4. Soda (or "pop," if you're from that part of the country) is pure evil.  Substitute unsweetened iced tea.  If you're craving the bubbles, drink flavored seltzer water.  You'll never miss soda, I guarantee.
  5. For the most part, say good-bye to bread.  Sandwiches are a thing of the past for me.  No more toast or English muffins at breakfast.  Make an exception for the breads that truly bring you joy.  Warm bread in restaurants is sometimes irresistible; however, when's the last time a hamburger roll brought you joy?  Get the burger, hot dog, or grilled chicken breast with no bun.  You'll never miss it.  A lot of times we eat bread just out of habit.
  6. That said, when you do eat out, ask the waitress to hold the stuff you're trying to avoid.  Sometimes the bread they put in front of you is just so-so, yet you'll pick at it because it's there.  Tell them you're eating low carb--they'll understand.
  7. Say good-bye to junk food like potato chips, Doritos, Fritos, and chips and salsa.  Cookies, candy, cake, coffee cake and all that crap is on the bad list, too.      
  8. That said, don't deny yourself anything.   This is important!  If you deny yourself, you'll be miserable.  Knowing that you can indulge yourself now and then makes all the difference.   I'll still have a beer or two and will hit Ben & Jerry's once a week.  I'll also have pizza once a week.  Maybe you love pasta--so have it once in a while.  Trust me, you'll reach a point where you won't want that stuff more than every so often.  Why?  I've told you before:  Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels!
  9. Weigh yourself every morning after you pee and before you eat.  Get yourself a little white board to record your weight and hang it in your bathroom.  This, too, is important.  Think of it this way:  If you're always looking at the time, you're not likely to be late.  But when you don't look at a clock, time gets away from you.  The same concept applies to your weight.
So this is how my life has changed: 
  1. I have much more energy.  Before I started this, I felt like a freakin' blob.  Mike and I would walk, but that was all the exercise I was getting.  In my case, once I lost the first few pounds, which took only a couple of days, I got some momentum going.   I started taking a ballet class and once I started getting my muscles toned again, I wanted more.  Now I'm also taking belly dancing (love it!) and a dance fusion class.  I dance around the house; I do tendus and  grand battements while I'm cooking.  I'm burning tons more calories than just walking.
  2. That bloody middle age spread is definitely more under control.  It feels great to be wearing clothes from my closet that used to look disgusting.  And last weekend I was lying poolside in a two-piece.  (Though I'll still wear the one-piece with the skirt when the kids are around--don't want to traumatize them.)  I still have a ways to go in this area, but I'm getting there.
  3. My posture has improved; I hold myself with more self-confidence.  I've always been good about that, but now I'm even better.  I did a comedy set last week--the first in a couple of months--and even though it had been a while since I'd been on stage, I could tell my confidence had improved.
  4. I feel sexier.  I am sexier!
I'm not being dramatic when I say this has been life changing.  If it's a twinkle in your eye to lose weight, I beg of you (okay, now I'm being dramatic) to try cutting back on carbs.

I never thought I'd be sharing a recipe (except for homemade Bailey's Irish Creme), but here's a simple low carb meal I made up.  I call it Mexican chicken soup--how inventive, right?  Believe me, if I can cook this, you know it's easy.  Just throw these ingredients in the crock pot or on top of the stove:
  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs (cut them up after they've cooked a bit)
  • A container of chicken broth
  • Half a bag of frozen corn (corn is high carb, so you can use less if you want or just eliminate)
  • A jar of hot (or medium, if you prefer) salsa 
Let all that stuff cook for a while and voila!  Top with shredded Mexican cheese and you've got yourself a meal.

Good luck to all who try this new way of eating, and be sure to tell me how you do!  And for those of you who are sick of hearing about this topic, this will be my last post on the subject.  (I'll try, anyway.)


R. Jacob said...

don't stop! It is like advertising, repeat, repeat. but don't forget serving sizes. A can of tuna is two servings. a can of soup is two servings. I will wait while you run to the pantry to read the label...
ok, back? a serving of salad dressing is a tablespoon, same with barbeque sauce. read label ingredients.
look up what they are. make your own soups. it's fun.
get a good scale, bright lights, digital. you are right on when to weigh yourself. a cup of coffee can add 1/2 a pound.
I suggest a group naked weigh in!


Taradharma said...

you are on FIRE, woman! Good for you! And it doesn't sound as if you are depriving yourself. I've been on the low-carb bandwagon for quite some time, being diabetic I watch and count carbs so I can dose my insulin properly.

Dr. Oz has been doing a lot of shows lately on diet, you may want to ck his website for some ideas. He claims Saffron extract is great for curbing appetite.

I think we all know that the 'junk' food is what is packing on the pounds and making us sluggish. It is highly addictive stuff, but once you break away and feel so great, you don't go back!

Mandy B said...

Hey Linda,

Don't stop with the updates! By sharing what you and Mike have been up to, you motivated Jeff and I to go low carb too. After 10 days, he has lost 8 lbs and I've said goodbye to 5 :)

We have been going super low carb and will probably do it for another 2 weeks at least. Have you checked out atkins.com? There are some great recipes on there. I made the beef stroganoff last night. We've made it with top sirloin and beef tenderloin. Also we used canned mushrooms, since we have like 30 cans of them in our end-of-days food bunker (Hello, my name is Jeff and I am a food shopaholic!!) OMG that sauce is so good. Boil a head of cauliflower, throw it in the food processer or blender with a little cream and you would swear you are eating mashed potatoes with it.

Anyway, sorry for rambling here, but I'm excited about this and I wouldn't have done it if I didn't have a cup of coffee with you 3 days a week!!!

gayle said...

Great tips!! I've lost 15 pounds since January ~ cutting down on my carbs. I still have a long way to go with the weight, workouts and the carbs!

Debbie said...

I'm depressed.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Ray, you're right about serving sizes. But if you're real good about the carbs, you can fill up and stay full.

Tara, great tip about the saffron extract. I'll look for it. (Though God knows I never set foot in a health food store!)

Mandy, that is so awesome, you made my day!!! I'll definitely check the Atkins site.

Gayle, good for you! Fifteen pounds is remarkable.

Debbie, my dear Debbie... I wish you lived here in Vegas so we could walk together and gab. I'd take you to my dance classes, too.

Anonymous said...

Brown rice, brown pasta, brown bread turns to fiber & makes you feel full longer.

White rice, white pasta, white bread turns to sugar (then fat) & makes you feel more hungry.

Plain fat-free yogurt instead of sour cream - you will never miss it!

Anonymous said...

Almost forgot...avoid anything that says high frutose corn syrup on the label!

Liz said...

I don't think I can do low carb. I just don't. However, as a 37 year Type 1 diabetic, I'm very aware of what I eat. I just can't control portion sizes. The Hubby and I started working out 5 weeks ago and eating a lot less (of everything). It's working pretty well for us! We also used to eat dinner out sometimes 4 times a week. No more of that either!

The problem I have is lunch. We brown bag every day and that's hard to do without a sandwich and some chips or "snack." Maybe I'll see what I can come up with.

You are inspiring!

kkerin said...

Good post and good comments! Thanks Linda!