Learning from Experience

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Saturday marked the beginning of our Biggest Winner weight loss competition and, unfortunately, was also a day that I spent away from home. I was far away from my healthy food choices and smack in the middle of “candy, nacho and cake-land.” While my co-contestant planned ahead by giving herself the day off and starting her program on Sunday, I was planning to avoid the poor food choices and stick with the good food choices. Easy, right?

Hmmmm. Well, not so easy it seems. I arrived at 10am and immediately dug in to half a muffin like it was going to grow legs and run away from my plate. It would have been better to stick with some protein, but I didn’t have time to eat before I left that morning and there was no protein to be had at the event. But, I limited myself to half the muffin and skipped the sugar-laden juice. Unfortunately, without protein, I was not feeling satisfied and returned within the hour for the other half the muffin.

I did well at lunch, choosing the green salad with lots of veggies and vinaigrette dressing. I skipped the croutons, but added some beans for a small amount of protein. The span between lunch and dinner was my downfall, however. By 3pm, the salad, muffin and coffee I had eaten so far had not provided me with enough fuel so keep going. What started off with one piece of candy became several pieces of candy followed by a plate of nachos! Holy Macaroni! I have to admit to being really disgusted with myself by the time dinner was served. For dinner, I was finally able to get my fill of protein with pulled pork and a salad. Finally I was full and by 6:30, done eating for the day.

Next weekend is a similar event, although one where no food (other than candy and snacks) is being served. What I have learned from last Saturday is that I need to be prepared by packing those food/snacks that my body needs to keep my energy levels up and the hunger monster away. What sort of things you might ask? Well, for that, I’ll borrow information from one of my favorite sites (www.sparkpeople.com) for everything health, diet and nutrition related.

Quick and Healthy Snack Ideas:

  • Unsalted nuts or nut mix (just a handful)
  • Celery sticks with peanut butter and several raisins on top
  • Rice cakes with peanut butter (good for getting a protein punch)
  • Low-fat cheese cubes
  • Hardboiled eggs
  • Deviled egg (wrapped in plastic wrap)
  • Greek yogurt cup (add in some fresh fruits, nuts or granola)
  • Trail mix
  • Vegetable sticks with a little packet of dip (lowfat salad dressing packets found in salad bars work as easy-to-pack dip)
  • Broccoli or cauliflower bites
  • Half of a turkey or tuna sandwich on whole-wheat bread
  • Cucumber slices (lightly salted or with nonfat Italian dressing)
  • Leftover chicken or turkey slices (great to eat cold)
  • Healthy fiber-rich or grain cereal (great to eat dry from a baggie)
  • Pickles (wrapped in foil or plastic wrap)
  • Box of raisins or other dried fruit
  • Half a large whole wheat bagel with light cream cheese
  • Apples, bananas, strawberries (any fruit works, these are naturally portable)
  • Mixed berries (these freeze well in plastic bags)
  • Whole-wheat crackers and low-fat string cheese
  • Grapes in a baggie
  • Fruit smoothie in a thermos
  • Tuna and cottage cheese in mini-containers

So, I guess that my biggest “ah ha!” moment from this past weekend is not that I need more self-control when faced with temptation, but that I need to be better prepared to “live” my new lifestyle. If I am not prepared, I am at the mercy of whatever foods are available or whatever fast food joint is around the corner. I need to be prepared to have the foods I choose to eat available to me – both as snacks and for meals. Only then will I be less tempted to overindulge when I have that piece of candy or slice of cake.

My second suggestion to those of you who have an “off” day: Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and MOVE ON! Don’t beat yourself up, just learn from the experience.

Hey – life isn’t about deprivation – it’s about moderation!

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