Day to Day Dieting Tools

I’ve been re-acquainting myself with the tools and behaviors I use to stave off hunger and avoid straying when I’m on a diet.

First, let me define some terms: I draw a sharp distinction between maintaining and dieting. For me, when I’m maintaining I stick to some guidelines but what I can eat is not strictly limited. When I’m dieting, I have a specific weight loss goal I’m working towards and I have significantly limited the universe of food I allow myself to consume, in order to meet that goal.

Ok, with that understanding, I’m definitely in a dieting mode right now, and so I need stronger guardrails on my eating behaviors. I put these in place by controlling my environment – making sure that I have plenty of the foods I can have on hand and removing foods that might cause a lapse or temptation – and by having tools on hand to help me through the tough spots: hunger or mouth cravings.

Here are a couple of my tools I keep on hand at work:

1. Gum. Great for giving me something to work on and when I’m chewing gum I’m less susceptible to temptation because my mouth is already busy – idly popping something into my mouth is harder to do when I’m chewing gum already.

2. Big plastic water cup, which doubles as a big plastic Crystal Light cup. To bulk up my portion-controlled lunch entree I’ll make up a big cup of CrystalLight (I love the little single-serving packets they sell them in now – so convenient!) drink the whole thing with lunch, and that will help to fill up my stomach and make it feel satisfied that we’ve eaten lunch. Also, this cup sits on my desk all day with water so I can sip throughout the day.

3. Shaker bottle. Invaluable for making up shakes. Cleanup in the break room is pretty simple too- just throw some water and dish soap in and shake, then rinse.

4. Red lunch box in back, full of all my approved foods. More than I need for a day, even, because I never know when a long day may strike, or a day when my hunger spikes, so a bit of extra is always a good idea.

5. Coffee cup for hot tea (not pictured, but you know what a coffee cup looks like).

This week has been surprisingly easy. Once I’m in the mode, I’m in the mode and workdays are simple and straightforward. Weekends and social activities are another matter, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it…

Today’s exercise: 50 minute run this morning before work. All is on target this week.

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5 Responses to “Day to Day Dieting Tools”

  1. santiagosgrimoire Says:

    Do you find that having the extra stuff in the lunch box ever leads to a temptation to eat extra stuff beyond your daily allotment?

    Also, does it help with variety? I have found that there are times when I bring my lunch to work and then decide at lunchtime that it’s just not appetizing. Which generally sends me the cafeteria (and to many bad choices).

    • Laina Says:

      When I’m on a program like I”m on right now (just shakes and program-provided entrees) there is no daily maximum, only a daily minimum, so there’s no risk of going over a limit that doesn’t exist. The purpose of the extra food is to keep me from going outside the few (safe) foods I’m allowed to have, so if I’m hungry, I can eat more of my prescribed foods. If I’m just “mouth hungry” and I don’t really feel like eating what I have, well, then I’m not really hungry. It does take a certain amount of bloody-mindedness to get into a groove where I’m willing to say “for a set period of time (weeks, months, whatever), these are the allowed foods” and then stick to it.

      I’m weird in that I don’t really have a need for variety – I actually prefer to eat the same things every day because it’s more important to me to know the caloric content, which I have worked out already for the foods I bring with me, than to have variety. That being said, the things I eat every day are the things I like the best of the allowed choices, so it’s not onerous or anything, I actually like the food I get pretty well.

      But, like I always say, this is just a program that works for my personality type. Everybody’s different, and I don’t push this program here on this blog because, well, what works for me usually doesn’t work for anybody else. 🙂

      • Wendi K Says:

        You look amazing! What a great accomplishment! !
        I just ordered HMR at home. The food isn’t bad, shakes and oatmeal good. My only concern is the shelf life of this food, not being frozen, worries me I’m eating cancer causing chemicals???. I’ve lost 7 pounds in 6 days, I’ve found it very easy, (to stay within the box), because I went and got a ton of fruits and veggies. I haven’t gotten hungry, and if I do, I grab fruit or make a shake.
        I need to loose 35lbs. I decided I wasn’t having my own success, and before I gained anymore, I better try something. I’m going to stick to it until it’s gone, but when transitioning, I’m wondering if there are frozen meals that suffice? I’m realizing it’s calories in/ calories out. I’m hoping I’ll continue to reach for fruits and veggies when needing a snack or dessert, when I’m in maintaining mode.
        With all that said. .. during (maintenance mode/lifestyle), when cooking your own meals, do you have tips? Say, if you make a lasagna, steak/potatoes meal, casserole, tacos. … Is the key to maintenace, in weighing your food, so you know your meal is within the right caloric amounts, or… Is there more involved, such as certain combos of protein/carb measurements? I have a low sugar protein drink mix I like to use, and to it I add, a half banana and table spoon of cottage cheese with almond milk, I feel the ingredients in that shake are healthier than HMR shakes that I’m currently on, but hope that when I’m maintaining, I can use my protein shakes rather than continuing to buy HMR shakes. Wondering what the key is to maintaining? When I finish HMR and get to my desired weight, and begin my own maintenance plan, I was planning on having my own steel cut oatmeal, with cranberries, (similar portion size to HMR oatmeal), 2-3 of MY OWN shakes per day(as listed above not using the HMR shakes), 3-4 fruits and veggies as I have been doing while on HMR, and then figure out the right portions for my own home made entrees, as well as keeping some grocery store healthy frozen options as back up. Have you found a plan that works to maintain, without having to continue to order HMR. My concern is, needing to live in the real world and learn to buy things and plan my own meals, knowing what and how to restrict myself. Not too mention, i don’t know if HMR long term is healthy, due to the ingredients, (that’s my own personal concern).Thank for any suggestions!

      • Laina Says:

        Hi Wendi! Congrats on taking steps to increase your health. If you’ve joined the HMR at home program, then honestly all of your questions should be answered by them as you work your way through the program. I can’t stress strongly enough how important it is to participate in the maintenance program (Phase 2) that they offer. There is absolutely ZERO chance I would have been able to create a lifestyle in which I can keep the weight off if I had not diligently attended the Phase 2 maintenance program with HMR. They teach you everything you need to know about how to create meals on your own, how to plan and create reasonable portions, and how to pick foods that support your maintenance. So the short answer is NO, you don’t need to be reliant on HMR foods forever, but you do need to participate in the phase 2 program so you can get a solid basis in how to maintain a weight loss long term. Good luck, and congratulations on your success so far!


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