So given all of that, I feel a little like a hypocrite when I share with you that I have been on a secret mission over the last two months--I tried a diet and I can't wait to share what I have learned through this process. First I need to tell you that while I did try a diet, I did do it my way. I used it more as a way to refine my current lifestyle, add more fruits and vegetables, and learn some sensible strategies for making smarter food choices.
The first thing you need to know is that you do have to know a little about cooking. You don't need to be a chef, but you do need to know how to use a microwave, stove, and oven, how to boil an egg, chop veggies and fruit, how to toast bread, but beyond that you should be fine. The next thing you need to know is that in the first few weeks I felt like I was always in the kitchen. It took me a while to figure out all the short cuts so her recipes could become a part of my lifestyle. However, after those initial weeks I figured out some shortcuts and tricks I will share with you in the coming weeks. The final thing you need to know is that you need to be a person that enjoys eating fruits and vegetables...if you don't, then this is not the plan for you. If you can handle all the above conditions and you would like to find a way to rarely feel deprived, then please read on.
- The high protein breakfasts leave you feeling full and minimizing a drop in blood sugar
- Super-sized portions at all meals--she encourages you to eat every bit of the meal, and there were times that I had to stop and save the remainder as a snack for later in the day
- Healthy snacks throughout the day--because of my high-intensity workouts I added more snacks into the mix
- Hungry Girl advocates drinking 8 ounces of water with all meals and snacks
Sean loved the food so much that he stuck to the above plan far closer than I did, and after only one week, he dropped over 8 pounds (I know, aren't guys annoying!). He continues to not only keep it off, but he has also been slowly losing more each week since. My teenage daughter also enjoyed the food and, because I was packing everyone's lunch and snacks on a daily basis, she made fewer trips to fast food establishments for those little treats high schoolers tend to indulge in.
Since I was mostly trying it out to report on my blog, I followed the Hungry Girl's plan about 80% of the time allowing 20% of the time for eating reasonable treats/meals of my choice, so I never felt deprived. While my weight did not fall off like Sean's, I did have more energy and my clothes are definitely showing that I have been able to lose inches along with a few of those stubborn extra pounds. What I did learn for the first week was very valuable:
- It is important to start my day with protein. With all the exercising I do, I especially need to be aware of taking in these lean proteins, so I can repair some of the damage I do with the miles I put in.
- Because I am not a big breakfast eater, one of the Hungry Girl's suggestions was to at least eat a protein heavy snack first thing in the morning. String cheese, almonds, and boiled egg whites have become some of my favorite early morning energy choices.
- Another suggestion I found valuable for this week had to do with gauging the way certain meals and snacks affected my energy and blood sugar levels. If I felt hungry too quickly after eating, I knew that this meal or snack wasn't for me. It is important for you to evaluate the way certain foods affect your body.
- Bulking up my meals and snacks with high fiber and high volume veggies had multiple benefits. I felt fuller, I felt healthier, and psychologically the larger portions helped me to feel satisfied throughout the day.
- Water is key--it helps you feel fuller, keeps you hydrated, and along with all the fruits and veggies you are consuming, it also helps you feel more regular. I know TMI, but it is true. Now I must admit that I am still working on this one. While I am drinking more water than I was, I am still not following the HG suggestion of 8 oz. with every meal.