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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Organizing for Weight Loss

My husband and I are both determined to shed a few pounds.  Both of us eat fairly healthily, but over the past few years and two pregnancies, our portion sizes have crept up and, especially in my case, the sweet tooth that sets in after the kids are off to bed (and I'm apparently too tired for willpower) is AWFUL!  And seeing things like this all over Pinterest doesn't help! :)

{Source via Pinterest}

We know ourselves well enough to know that in order to focus on weight loss for a little while, we need a diet with structure and clear rules, but counting every little thing is also difficult and gets annoying (which for us means we are more likely to abandon the rules).  We've both had success on the Atkins diet in the past, before we had kids, but I also wanted a more balanced option that has a maintenance phase (or back to "normal") that is well-aligned with the conscious choices we already make for our kids (such as minimizing refined sugars and processed foods).  Our compromise is the South Beach Diet.

I was actually excited to start, since one of the goals of the induction phase (phase 1) discussed in the South Beach diet book is the elimination of cravings, and that is my biggest challenge.  Plus, since I recently stopped breastfeeding my youngest, I'm choosing to take a more empowered attitude to reclaim my body rather than be saddened by the thought of no longer breastfeeding, perhaps forever (since we aren't sure we're going to have any more...). 

In order to succeed in any diet, it is important to organize yourself, your pantry, and your shopping lists accordingly.  This is the first time we are dieting and feeding children at the same time, so there is no way to eliminate fruits and starches from the house altogether for this first phase during which we eliminate them entirely.  The answer is to stock the fridge with plenty of veggie choices and be prepared, especially with diet-approved snacks (like celery sticks, string cheese, and nuts). 

It is more important than ever to plan out meals when sticking to a diet plan.  I still use my Excel meal planner and shopping list system for planning, with a few modifications.  I have also started planning breakfasts because for the first phase of South Beach the breakfasts all involve eggs.  Luckily it is super easy to make omelets and scrambles with different combinations of vegetables for very different meals that all utilize eggs.  At the same time, for the inevitable night where dinner prep gets started too late to go with the planned meal, I am determined to have enough salad fixings on hand at all times that we can always throw together a yummy salad (without getting bored with the same old salads over and over).

Thankfully my system of washing, cutting, jarring and vacuum packing lettuce makes salad making quick and easy during the week.  I continue to expand my veggie prep to include chopped versions of other veggies ready to go vacuum sealed in jars as well.  I will report on how long they seem to last, although we are plowing through veggies these days (which can't be a bad thing!), so it is difficult to really gauge how long they'll really last, but I'll try to do some experiments! 

I am thrilled to report that just over 2 weeks in and my habit of craving sweets at night is gone, but I still want something sweet and chocolate here and there (I'm still a woman!).  I am not a dark chocolate lover, so I was happy to find this No Sugar Added milk chocolate bar at Trader Joe's.  Just one or two little squares is a satisfying treat.

And thankfully I can also find things like this Low Carb Caramel Machiatto Tiramisu on Pinterest that I can't wait to try!!

{Source via Pinterest}

I will use this outlet to spotlight diet-friendly recipes and meal ideas that can translate to any healthy lifestyle, as well as ideas for fitting exercise into a crazy schedule.  Be sure to let me know if you have ideas or questions along the way!

This post is linked up to the following link parties:

Weekend Bloggy Reading @ Serenity Now

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