Updated: Jan 31, 2019
In this blog I'm going to share with you how I upgraded my eating style and cooking techniques to lose 100lbs and what I'm doing now to lose my 100 YBC pounds!
1. Minimize process foods. Adopt a "lean eating" lifestyle.
I like to eat all natural, minimally processed, and organic food when it makes sense. However, I like seasonings and the occasional touch of cream so the word "clean" just didn't seem right. So instead of adopting "clean eating" I use the phrase "lean eating".
2. Research ingredients and flavors from other countries to "spice" up your dishes.
Take some time to really learn how other people eat around the world (it's usually healthier than American diets) and incorporate it in your weekly menu. For instance, I love to use a lot of cumin in Greek sauces and marinades, something I didn't know was so prevalent until I did my research. I also like to experiment with different fermented pastes and sauces when I'm making a stir fry, burgers, and soups.
3. Eat fresh vegetables in season and frozen vegetables when they aren't in season.
I don't like using a lot of canned foods. When purchasing vegetables I opt for fresh if it's in season and frozen when it's not. In this case frozen vegetables will taste better because they were picked at their prime and frozen soon after. Try different spice blends like curry powder or some cilantro and chili powder with your vegetables to add some depth of flavor without adding any calories.
4. Add plain Greek yogurt for a filler.
It's important for me to monitor how much added sugar and fat I'm consuming. For me plain Greek yogurt mixed in perfectly with vanilla yogurt, smoothies, salad dressings, sour cream, cream cheese + brown sugar for fruit dip, oatmeal, and vegetable dips. Per serving doing this decreased the percent of sugar, fat, and amount of calories. It also added protein which makes you feel fuller and rebuilds muscle, skin, and cartilage among many other benefits.
5. Work for what you want.
I don't buy a lot of processed "junk food" because I'll eat it. By making it harder for me to get these foods I'd have to make a conscious decision and ask myself whether I really wanted it or if I was eating for emotional reasons. So if I really wanted a brownie I'd have to make it, from scratch, which meant I'd probably have to go to the grocery store first for a few ingredients. If I was willing to do all of this, I treated myself. In his book, Food Rules, Michael Pollan discusses this practice and many other simple ways we can eat less processed foods.
6. Have "healthy cheats" on the weekends.
It's no surprise weekends are the most difficult time for most of us to eat well. Sadly a bad weekend can ruin a week's worth of healthy eating and exercise so I had to makes sure that I was still eating to lose weight, during the weekend while still having fun.
For me this meant adopting "healthy cheats" this would be a meal that felt or seemed like it was unhealthy but really wasn't it. Friday nights I'd almost always have a fun and "lean" salad, sometimes with a friend who likes to eat well.
Saturday after a good work out I'd have an omelet with lean meats and veggies---try roasted sweet potatoes, peppers, spinach, turkey sausage, and goat cheese! During the week I don't have much time to cook a fun brunch, so this was a treat. You can also use the toppings from the previous nights salad!
Saturday night might be a lean burger at home, baked chicken wings, BBQ chicken tostadas, or homemade pizza on Joseph's lavosh bread with a lot of veggies (zucchini squash is a perfect filler), a few pepperoni or sausage slices and chicken. I made sure that my healthy cheats didn't exceed 600 calories, most often they were in the 500 range.
On Sunday mornings I enjoy a scratch made, low- sugar, low fat, high-protein muffin and coffee. I promise I'll share that recipe soon after I do a few changes! After church I almost always have a traditional Sunday dinner. In the African-American culture Sunday dinners with heavy soul-food dishes are a thing. It's something that I enjoy and wasn't willing to eliminate. Since my mom usually cooks these dinners I just ask her to make it lighter and I always load my plate up with vegetables and lean protein before adding the heavier sides.
It was important for me to create my own way of eating. One that didn't give me anxiety about where it came from, how it was processed, and if I should eat it or not--thanks IU. One that allowed me to have fun and not feel like I'm missing out. And one that allowed me to make smart choices for me and what I believed to be a the "right" way to eat.
I hope these tips helped you, if they did please let me know by commenting below or connecting with me on Facebook. For groups of 3-10 you have the option to order healthier boxes by substituting your cookie for fruit and your chips for celery and carrot sticks! Order online here. You can also subscribe to our mailing list so you can be notified of new blogs and YBC news.