I am now three weeks into my lifestyle rebalancing, and I'm really feeling the progress. I've dropped ten pounds (I know, too fast! See below), I'm getting used to some new habits, and I'm planning for the future. But let's talk about some of the unpleasant aspects of this.
I'm finding out I'm a little obsessed. On Friday, I was making plans to go out for dinner on Monday. I knew it would be a Calorie-heavy day, so in my mind I was already planning how to cut corners for THREE DAYS prior. I saw that and nipped it in the bud, but it's telling when it comes to my mental approach to food.
Warning: the following is a bit self-obsessed, and way too detailed for anyone.
I'm "supposed" to have anywhere from 1800 to 2300 Calories a day. This will yield a healthy steady weight loss and still provide the fuel I need. Over the past 3 weeks, I've averaged probably closer to 1400. Some days it's 1200, some 1500, but if I go over 1500 I start to get nervous. Nervous even though I could eat a full meal in addition to 1500 and still be "okay."
I was trying to get to the root of this behavior, and I figured some of it out. It's partially that when I last was this strict with food, I was eating out on a regular basis. We lived in an area with more good restaurants, had no baby to deal with, and my wife was working and going to school and was much busier. We didn't cook nearly as often. We were also more social -- more likely to be going out for a poker night, a game night, a movie night, a random get-together that involved takeout (or delicious mexican food, you know who you are) and beer or margaritas ... basically I was constantly leaving room for a disaster in the evening, and I often needed that room.
Life isn't like that now. Going out to eat is harder because there are fewer options where we live now, and we're carting a toddler along. We're more likely to eat at home, and more likely to control the ingredients and make those meals healthy. With my wife also starting to pay attention to her food we're not having huge thousand-plus Calorie dinners.
So my new goal for an average day is to consume 1000 healthy Calories at work, leaving room, for a 600 to 700 Calorie dinner and a 100 to 200-Calorie dessert. Here's a breakdown of what I was doing before at work:
Breakfast: 200 Calories
(Egg beaters, onions/peppers, whole grain toast)
Lunch: 300 Calories
(Salad, yogurt, hard boiled egg, oil and vinegar)
Snacks: 200 Calories
Total before dinner: 700 Calories.
So I need to add 300 Calories to my average day. A hundred at breakast, a hundred at lunch, and an extra hundred in snacks would probably work out well. I could add some dairy at breakfast (glass of skim milk, or some low-fat cheese), some protein at lunch (meat with the salad), and perhaps some fat to my snacks (almonds).
I could also change it up even more. Have a 500-Calorie sandwich at lunch. I write this, but as I do I get nervous. Sandwiches lead to bags of chips, bags of chips lead to french fries, french fries lead to big bellies.
This is the unhealthy relationship I have with food right now. I know it's not normal. I know I need to improve things. I'm getting there.
I'll write more later, including some other things I'm trying to do to take this in a healthy direction, as well as my thoughts on physical (not just dietary) fitness.