I am so excited to be able to share my tips with all of you! It is nice to know folks are interested in my crazy life! 🙂 Let’s just get this number out there… I have officially lost 67 pounds since Sept of 2013. I hit my original goal about two months ago, which is really cool! Since then, I have challenged myself to lose another 6 to 10 before Christmas and I am working hard to tone my body and to increase my activity level each and every week. For me, this is not as much about weight anymore and is much more about being able to keep walking as long as I can and to keep my symptoms of CMT in check with healthy habits and rehabilitation.
The following eating plan is what I followed beginning in February of 2014. It is not intended to be a catch all, as most of you ladies may be smaller than I was at the beginning of my journey and of course men need more calories than women. However, I will do my best to show you the overall structure of what your day should look like when it comes to your daily food counts. Keep in mind that I DO NOT count calories and I do not measure my food for the most part. Of course, at the beginning, it is best to measure or weigh out your servings so that you can begin to internalize the true serving sizes you should be eating (if you are like me, you may be shocked at how much less you may be eating than you should). When I began this program, it took me a month or two to realize that I was guilty of not eating enough of the things that fuel my body, nor was I eating on a regular schedule. Now I know that it was no wonder my metabolism had completely shut down. My body would hold on to everything I ate because it did not know when it would get those much needed nutrients again!
I was a typical busy working Mom- I often skipped breakfast so that I could head out the door on time. Let’s face it, when you are overweight and have leg and arm issues it is hard enough just to get showered, dressed, make yourself presentable and get out the door with all the crap you need for your day! Add that to my hour and a half each way commute to the office and you see it is a deadly combination. Once I began to focus on getting in the fuel I needed for the day at the times I needed it, my body responded quickly and began to release the extra calories and burn the fat! The reason I recommend keeping a journal is that I can literally look back at my logs and show you the impact of missing servings or skipping meals on my overall weight loss. Think of your body as a big science project… Once you learn the science, the results are very predictable and very easy to control!!!
This plan is simple for me and I now have it memorized. My brain automatically registers what I just ate and which category it fills in my days allowances. You won’t be that way at first, of course! It will take a few months for you to get there. What I will promise you is that if you are able to stick with this initial “Learning” phase, it WILL eventually click and you will become like me- a conscious controlled eater that can easily make adjustments whenever necessary in order to have an overall positive outcome each and every week. During your learning phase, it will make your life so much easier if you just stick with the plan exactly- no cheating and no substitutions. This way you will lay a good foundation from which you can build on and you will kick-start your loss and be better prepared to deal with life throwing you curve balls later. Again, I cannot stress enough that you need to not think of this as a “diet”! Think of this as your new lifestyle and become a conscious intentional player in your own life. Leave NOTHING to chance and you will succeed.
Here is the breakdown of what I ate each and every day:
- Breakfast: 1/3 protein serving (1 egg or 2 oz light cheese), 1 fruit, 1 starch, 6 oz skim milk
- AM snack: 1 fruit. 1 protein supplement (shake, bar, meat or cheese)
- Lunch: 1 protein, 2 vegetables, 1 starch
- Mid PM snack: 1 fruit (MUST eat fruit 5 hours before bed)
- Dinner: 1 protein, 2 vegetables, 1 starch (MUST eat 4 hours before bed)
- PM Snack (Can be eaten after dinner as dessert): 1 protein supplement (MUST eat 2 hours before bed)
- Must also consume daily: 1 Fat serving daily and 1/4-1/2 tsp of Morton’s light salt
- Drink at least 85 ounces of water each day (Think 4, 24 ounce water bottles)
- Take a good multivitamin and additional essential fatty acid (EFA’s) supplement each day. (This helps with skin elasticity and will be important for you the smaller you get).
I lost the first 20 pounds on my own- just completely changing what and how I ate and cutting out soda, creamers/caffeine, sugar and bad carbs (IE: white bread and pasta, etc). I also limited fats to only those that proteins gave me- so meats were ok and black beans were ok at that time. I hit a plateau around January 2014 so I kicked it up a notch. The info in this plan is what I followed through the last forty pounds of weight loss. Some folks will need more or less calories based on their beginning weight (men will need to add in additional proteins & starches during the day). Also, I had 45+ pounds total to lose. Towards the end of my plan and as I got closer to my goal, I removed the a starch at breakfast and cut my dairy to 4 ounces in order to maintain a burn. However, it is very important to note that the smaller you get and the less overall you are supposed to eat- it becomes even more important to get in ALL of your food each day in order to maintain a burn. My husband eats a bit more than this because of his size (He get’s additional foods, but he’s basically doing the same thing but he started at a higher weight than me). I can still lose pretty consistently when I stick to this program. I remind you again that the key to this program is to eat everything each day and to eat at regular intervals in order to keep your body burning!!
Another thing that really helps is to have others doing this with you so that you can rely on one another for support and help to keep one another accountable! If your spouse or roommate does it, you can help to keep one another on track and can help motivate one another. You should also be warned though that sometimes your spouse can be an enabler (like my sweet husband, Sam) and it will not help you if they are the ones who get you to eat poorly! Be sure to friend me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/StacieAKing if you want to work on it together.
I have written this information up for those that have requested it. If you decide to try it out, you can follow the basic structure of the plan and then once you internalize it- you can then make any substitutions for items you get in stores as you see fit. The bottom line, once you learn these rules for eating- the weight will come off and you will make progress towards your goal. If you check off everything on the list each day you will lose! No matter what, get it all in… Even if you have to eat something every hour of every day. At first, I could not stomach 8 ounces of chicken- IT IS A LOT! I would eat 4 ounces on my salad and then another four ounces later in the day. Now I have trained my stomach to be able to eat it all. That sounds funny, I know. I had to force myself to eat! Go figure- the fat girl did not eat much. 🙂
Throughout my program, I lost on average 2.5 to 3 pounds per week consistently until about the first week in May when I took a break and let my hair down a bit during all the celebrations for my son’s graduation and several out of town business trips which included our family vacation. Needless to say, that was a busy month and a half or so! The greatest thing to know was that I had the knowledge to keep me from gaining much at all during that time, even when I cheated! I enjoyed myself on occasion but overall was able to keep on plan throughout it all. I only gained about four pounds total during those months and I got it right back off after it was over. Once I hit my final goal around August 2014, I have been able to maintain my weight within about four pounds and have been able to enjoy myself during the weekends and at parties/family events. This became critical for me over the past few weeks after my Father’s passing. It has been the hardest month of my life, yet I am thankful that I am still in control.
While my weight loss was a little slower than I had hoped at first, (I had wanted to hit my original goal by April or May of 2014) I have to admit that I cheated in the beginning (cocktails here and there with clients/skipping meals) while I was still learning the chemistry behind it all. It is hard to be as busy as I am and to make it a priority to prep, shop, and cook (I work at least 50 hours per week most weeks and have two contract jobs on the side to help make extra money). It will be hard for you too. Life is just like that. You have to remember the end goal at all times and to understand that the choices you make each and every day will have an impact on your future self. During the past year, I was planning a reunion, I had my son’s Senior year activities at school, all the college visits, college applications, and our normal personal family stuff too! While I post A LOT on Facebook, most people don’t realize that digital marketing and social media is what I do for a living so I am ALWAYS online and plugged in. Needless to say, I love what I do and find myself playing online even in my downtime. I have learned to make time to feed myself good, real food. It really is 90% what you put in your mouth!
IMPORTANT FIRST STEPS: The first bit of advice I can give you is to take your health seriously! We only get one life and this one body and at the end of the day, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we are NO GOOD for anyone else. The second important advice is to go get a physical and some basic blood work tests before beginning any weight loss program! Just call your primary care physician and schedule a physical if you haven’t had one in a while. It is really best for you to know any issues you may be dealing with and to have a baseline before you start. This is especially important with things like blood pressure, thyroid function levels, cholesterol levels, etc. These things can be impacted by certain foods so it is best to know how to adjust your eating accordingly. Also, I don’t take a lot of supplements because of interactions with my disease or my blood pressure/thyroid issues. I do take some things intentionally (like the Mortons salt) because it helps my blood pressure to do so (I explain more below). You will learn so much more if you know what you are dealing with up front before you get too far into any weight loss plan.
EXAMPLES OF WHAT TO EAT FOR EACH MEAL:
Breakfast: One egg or 2 oz light mozzarella or swiss cheese (30 calories) or Light Baby bell with one piece of toast (counts as a full starch). Toast must be under 40 calories also- Nature’s Own has a good one. Rotate cheese or egg every other day. You should eat no more than six eggs per week total (unlimited if you use egg beaters), You can also use light butter (check the attached list) but counts as your fat for the day. Also eat one serving of fruit at breakfast, and six ounces of skim milk. I gave up coffee for about four months because you cannot do cream or sugar and I was also avoiding fake sugars due to their chemicals. If necessary, you could do a sugar-free energy drink if you need to- crystal light or Advocare SPARK are good choices? You can also have coffee with your skim milk and sugar substitute if chemicals are not a concern for you (people with neuromuscular should avoid sugar substitutes if at all possible. Stevia or Splenda is your best choice if you plan to have a substitute).
AM Snack: In between breakfast and lunch, I eat a protein bar, or a protein shake and another fruit serving. They are low carb and give me more nutrients.
Lunch is one starch (check out the attached list for options). You should also eat two servings of vegetables (cooked with Pam only) and a protein serving (8 ounces of chicken is a TON of chicken). Red meat should be eaten only three times per week and never back to back days. You can also have Mrs. Dash or fresh herbs to season your meats. Garlic is my favorite of course. You can eat any no-sodium or zero sugar seasonings (cinnamon, onion powder, etc)- be sure to weigh meat before you cook it and no oil or butter. No canned meats or lunch meats because of the sodium content, but you can eat canned tuna fish once per week (6 ounces). No meat on the bone (too high in fat). Also, you should not eat canned veggies either if at all possible (they contain sodium). You should choose fresh or fresh-frozen veggies because you need the nutrients! Remember, food is for fuel.
Suggestion: 1% cottage cheese can be a serving of protein (7 oz) and it’s really good with pineapple! You can do that three times per week. I also keep meal replacement shakes on hand to use when I can’t find anything healthy to easy ( conventions I attend, etc). You really shouldn’t use them more than twice per week though. Keep them under 5 grams of sugar and they should have at least 15 or more grams of protein. The shakeology shakes made by BeachBody or the JuicePlus shakes are great choices. Also, regarding proteins- should never mix proteins… Ex: No chicken and cheese together. The simpler you eat, the better. This helps your body digest your food easily and quickly.
PM snack: This should be eaten at least 2 hours before bed. You can eat this after lunch or wait to eat it as a “dessert”- think chocolate protein bar or chocolate protein supplement made as a pudding (very little water added). It is another protein serving (if I drank a shake earlier then I eat a bar or QWLC chips in the evening). I will also eat another fruit serving (Eat 3 per day).
Dinner: This should be eaten at least four hours per bed. The breakdown is the same as at lunch (1 protein, 1 starch, 2 vegetables). You can eat half a large potato or brown rice (1/4 Cup Cooked) as your starch at dinner. Do this only every other day and no more than 3 per week of those. I also use Melba toast a lot (like as croutons on salad) and that is my starch. If you eat a salad- remember to ask for NO onions, NO croutons, NO cheese, and NO carrots. When you are out- these are usually standard on salads and hard to pick out. I usually order a Caesar (romaine) with no dressing or croutons or a spinach salad. That counts as a veggie serving and you can use 2 tablespoons of any dressing under 35 calories. The best ones I have found are Olive Garden light Italian and any of the Bolthouse farms. You can find them at Wal-Mart. Bolthouse Blue cheese is my favorite. Also, you can order to go packets from various organic manufacturers online that you can keep in your purse. You can only do one dressing each day though, so you can use them as a sauce on your grilled chicken or on a salad each day (See Recipes for ideas).
Depending on if you have high blood pressure or not- you need to get some additional potassium in each day because you are going to be limiting your sodium intake each day. I had a hard time with this! I have added 1/2 to one teaspoon of Morton’s light salt to my food every day, especially because I have/had high blood pressure. It gives me the sodium and potassium necessary to keep my body functioning. It is best to check with your own doctor on this of course. Remember, the more water you drink each day and less sodium you take in, the more you will need to supplement potassium so that your body does not get an electrolyte imbalance. Here is a great article on the importance of potassium. It will help to explain more on the subject.
In order to get the salt in each day, I measure it out each morning and keep a little snack-sized Ziploc bag or container in my purse with my salt for the day and I pour it on my food all throughout the day. Watermelon with my salt is my favorite way to get it in. YUM. Or- I cut up cucumbers and add apple cider vinegar to them with the salt. You then eat them like chips and they count as a veggie! 🙂 At first, I would always forget my salt and would end up having to add it to my water at night- YUCK. It is really strong and potent, so it is best to eat it all throughout the day.
As you can see this is A TON of food to eat all day, but it truly keeps your metabolism moving all day and I am never hungry for sure. It takes a lot to get it all down every day!!! I found too that I get busy and forget to eat and then end up with leftover stuff. I used to use alarms on my cell phone to remind me throughout the day, but that got annoying for other people because I would leave my phone on my desk or purse and everyone else had to listen to it.
I also purchased a Fitbit a couple of months ago and that is great because I can schedule my alarms to go off on it and since it is on my wrist and vibrates when I need to eat- I never miss a meal now and only I get scared when it goes off. The world is not involved in my eating regime! To order your own, you can get them at all major stores you will buy technology at, or click here to order from Wal-mart. It costs around $87 but helped me tremendously to keep me eating on a schedule and to track my steps each day.
Important Final Rules to Remember:
- No fruit but 5 hours before bed at the latest (because of sugar)
- 4 hours before bed you need to eat dinner…NO LATER
- Last protein serving should be two hours before bed at the latest. ( I eat my protein bar at this time because they taste like candy and make a great dessert)
- Drink 65-80 ounces of water per day… THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU WILL LEARN!
A couple of additional things to note- Do not drink anything with caramel coloring (No cokes, Pepsi etc- even diet ones) or anything with malt in it (soy sauce) because they will affect your chemical balances. If you cheat you will see it on the scale and it takes a week to get back on track- I AM NOT KIDDING. As they say, Been there, done that! During the last phase of my program, I tried to kick it up to a 3- 4 pounds per week during the last few weeks and it made a big difference sticking to this rule. If I can tell you anything at all if you cheat in the beginning, it throws your chemical balances completely off and it will take about five days to get back into burning. IT IS JUST NOT WORTH IT! I could have been at my goal weight much earlier had I not cheated… Darn those fireball shots and pina coladas!!! 🙂
Hydration is critical in weight loss and will make a big difference in your weekly totals. I have a big Contingo water bottle I use every day (they have them at Walmart if you need one). It holds 24 ounces and I fill it up four times or more per day. If you add the milk I drink (in addition to plain water amounts) and the protein drinks I drink as well- I am ALWAYS drinking SOMETHING! 😉 Your body is made up of water. EVERYTHING runs better if you consistently drink water. As well, it will aid with your skin tightening- a big factor for me. You will love your skin & complexion too.
You can find these awesome Contigo water bottles at Wal-Mart. Click here for the link to purchase them online. I have about four of these that we rotate day to day so we always have a clean one to use each and every day. They are dishwasher safe and BPA free so getting your water in is super easy using these! Just drink four or five of these per day and you are done!
I know this seems overwhelming, but I PROMISE- If you follow this to the t, you will lose!! It is science. I truly hope this all helps you! Let me know if you have any questions at all. You can reach me directly by registering on this site or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.