I have fear regarding eating food from a restaurant and the unknown factors that go into not knowing exactly what is in what I am eating. I like to know the exact ingredients, whether the turkey I am eating is 99% fat free or 97% fat free (as this does make a differeence in my calorie consumption for the day), and whether something was sauteed in oil or the chef used pam and water to keep the calories low.
A Brief Aside on Sushi Houses
The only restaurants that I do like to go out to are Sushi Houses. There I know that I am getting lean protein that is minimally processed and usually when ordering sashimi or Tuna Tartar or Ceviche has not too much fat laden items added to it. I like sushi, typically when we go out I order tuna tartar or tuna ceviche with one order of sashimi on the side. Very little carbs, very little added sugar, but lots of protein. My favorite! Because we eat less of it, we can go out to a higher quality sushi house and order what we want for under forty dollars. Holla!
Ashley and Calorie Counting Continued
I need to know this information, I get nervous and wonder if I am sabotaging my whole day's progress with one meal. I know I can start anew the next day, but I don't like not knowing if what I am ordering and thinking is healthy is actually a heart attack in disguise.
I think it is part of my success, but others can think that my tracking borders on the side of obsessive. See, I have gotten into the habit of recording my food on LoseIt as I am eating a meal. I do this because it gives me something else to do while I am eating and therefore helps to distract me and slow down my eating. I also track because the little bites add up and when you are only eating 800-1000 calories per day taking a few bites of food that add up to 100 calories really throws a kink into my planned caloric day.
Ashley and the Points System
That is one of my pet peeves with Weight Watchers, I do attend meetings but currently do not track using their Points system. This is because the Doctor and my Nutritionist are interested in the actual calories that I am eating- not the points. That is why I use LoseIt on my iPhone and their online site to track my calories consumed and burned each day. After researching and listening to Jillian Michael's podcast on Plateaus (Debunking Plateaus, May 6, 2011) I realized that tracking calories is far more important than tracking points. Weight loss for the most part is a formula; eat less than you burn and you will create a calorie deficit. You create a 3500 calorie deficit than you will lose one pound of fat. And besides a few monthly fluctuations and the occasional sputter this formula remains true always (we have to remember that our bodies to occasionally need time).
Ashley and BMR
Everyone knows about BMI, Body Mass Index, but not everyone knows about BMR, Basal Metabolic Rate, or the number of calories that your body burns per day doing basic bodily functions (ie, what you would burn sitting on the couch). With your BMR you know how many calories you need to eat to stay and maintain your weight, my BMR currently is 1667 calories per day. Since I eat around 900 calories per day that means I create an approximate 700 calorie per day deficit. Multiply the 700 per day by 7 days per week and just by what I eat I should lose 1.4 pounds per week, not including exercise or my daily activity (which might I just say that since school started I can easily walk 12,000 steps per day before I even get home and go to the gym!). <It is important to remember that as you lose weight your BMR will change and your calories needed each day will go down.>
I would never be able to calculate this without looking at calories consumed and lost during the day. If I was using points consumed vs. points earned for activity then I would not get to use the math behind weight loss. Now eventually, when I am in maintenance maybe I will be able to look at points and be content, but right now I need the cold hard facts and numbers associated with calories burned compared to calories consumed and my BMR. Call me crazy, but it makes me feel content and that is what matters!!!
Ashley and Cooking
I do enjoy cooking even more now and I am getting sort of inventive with the ingredients used and how to make recipes or foods that are healthier and higher in protein without the carbs or sugars. I have found a lot of resources from other bloggers (Truth In Change), vloggers (BandedWendy on YouTube- I love her), websites (Weight Watchers, Cooking Light, Hungry Girl, etc) with awesome recipes and inventive takes on foods I like.
- Protein is always my first concern when cooking. That is what fuels my body and that is my first focus.
- I use Chobani Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt in a lot of my recipes in place of sour cream, mayo, or when the items just needs creaminess. This adds protein and taste/texture to my food.
- I use a lot of spices to make my foods pop in terms of flavor. Usually calorie free and what makes my dishes taste good.
- I've learned to use other vegetables in place of carbs (radicchio or endive in place of chips, cabbage or Boston lettuce instead of tortillas, and turnips in place of potatoes for french fries).
- I've learned to cook without much added oil, using Pam and water to saute vegetables. Only using oil when needed and very small amounts of it.
- One of my favorite things to cook right now for dessert is a Baked Apple in the microwave. --> core one apple, fill core with apple or mango, cinnamon, one packet of Truvia, a bit more cinnamon, add a 1/2 teaspoon butter spread, and a bit of water to the bottom of the bowl. Microwave for five minutes. After five minutes microwave for two 30 second rotations each time stopping and basting apple with cinnamony water at bottom of the dish. When done the apple should be soft and room should smell like apple pie. Top with two tablespoons of Chobani Greek Yogurt mixed with Splenda and Cinnamon to taste.
- I have made Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls using protein powder, PB2, Cocoa Powder, and water. Combine all ingredients in muffin tins and freeze for one hour. I got that recipe from Oxygen Magazine. They are really good, even though my Mom made fun of me!!!!
- I have made my own frozen yogurt using my ice cream machine, 2 cups Chobani Plain 2%, 2 Cups Chobani Fat Free Yogurt, 1/4 cup Truvia or Agave Nector, and one cup milk. Let mix in machine until to a smooth consistency- it is of vital importance to make certain the ice cream machine bowl is completely frozen, if not the consistency of the frozen yogurt will be just cold yogurt and not frozen yogurt.
- Using Chobani Plain FF Yogurt, Truvia, and Cocoa Powder I have made a nice topping for berries.
- I have used ricotta cheese as a base for a chicken dish, but now my personal favorite is mashed cauliflower! OMG! Delicious.
- Spicy Chicken Salad using a rotisserie chicken, Chobani ff greek yogurt, and Siracha hot sauce.
- Dijon Chicken Salad using a rotisserie chicken, Chobani ff greek yogurt, and dijon mustard.
- Egg salad using eggs, Dijon mustard, and Chobani ff greek yogurt.
- Dill Chicken using chicken breast fillets, Chobani ff greek yogurt, and dill. Then once cooked broiling one half slice of Fontina Cheese on top. Delicious! I modified this recipe from a version I had at a party over the summer, the original was breaded and fried, but both versions turn out awesome.
Overall, there are a lot of things that you can do to make dishes in the flavors that you like using ingredients that are healthy and having an overall emphasis on protein first, veggies/fruits second, carbs third if you are still hungry! Healthy options are all around you, you just have to consciously take them.
Ashley's Concluding Remarks
Well, there is some food for though. LOL. To summize, I believe that calorie counting is important, that keeping detailed track of what you eat and how much of it is vital to your overall weight loss success, and that healthy cooking can be easy and fun- if you want it to be.
Till tomorrow! <3