I've said it before and I'll no doubt say it an inordinate number of times again, that for me weight loss begins and ends with food. In today's post, I wanted to share what I'm doing, food-wise, to battle the fat.
1. Kilojoule Counting
Years of horrific eating have left me with almost no sense of how good or bad foods are, nor how much of them I should eat. Having a daily kilojoule limit of between 5000 and 6000 kilojoules (roughly 1200 to 1430 calories), and keeping a record of everything I eat helps enormously to correct for this lack of knowledge. Doing it religiously also keeps me accountable and firmly planted in reality about what I'm eating. It makes seeing mistakes in my eating a breeze and takes away the ability for me to fall into denial about what I've eaten.
At the moment I'm using a free version of the Shape Up app on my phone. It's a decent enough app (although the features are a little limited with the free version) and it's handy to be able to input my foods on the go. The only reason I use this over MyFitnessPal is because it has the option to use kilojoules. Here in Australia pretty much all food labelling uses kilojoules, rather than calories, to measure energy. MyFitnessPal looks to be the better app, but unfortunately they still don't have the option to record or measure in kilojoules.
2. Meal Replacement Shakes
Meal replacements have always been something that I looked down on and had no interest in. When my partner started on a meal replacement scheme to lose weight last year, I repeatedly voiced my concerns about how healthy they were. In the end, I struggled so much trying to lose weight with food, because I couldn't curb my compulsive and binge eating behaviours, that I caved and gave it a go. I'm glad I did because I've really benefited from the structure it provides. Sustaining myself with something other than typical foods has also allowed me to start addressing my compulsive food habits and building willpower.
The meal replacement plan I use is by Herbalife. Their weight loss plan involves replacing two meals a day with shakes and taking nutritional supplements with all meals to ensure adequate nutrient intake. The shakes are made from Herbalife's powder formula and your milk of choice. Depending on what milk you use, the shakes are fairly low in kilojoules. Currently, I use the shakes dependent on my mood. If I just can't do a shake, then I'm pretty happy to change it with a healthy meal.
3. Eating Lots of Vegetables, Fruits and Whole Foods
Bodies love that stuff. I partake in the school of thinking that our bodies are made to consume this stuff and so probably benefit from a diet high in foods that are natural. While I haven't eliminated processed foods from my diet (see point 2 above), I try to focus on adding and substituting in lots whole foods, especially vegetables. It helps to keep my kilojoules down, while making sure my body is getting lots of nutrients.
4. Drinking Water
I know water is not a food, but maintaining adequate hydration helps me to feel less hungry. The body has difficulty distinguishing between hunger and thirst signals, and often when I'm underhydrated I tend to feel hungry more often and end up eating more. This was part of the difficulties I had last week. Proper hydration is no doubt also important in helping the digestive system do it's job.
Although not all of these things will work for everyone, they have been really working for me so far. I think the key is to find out what makes sense to you and what you can reasonably stick to. Let me know what food based plans you're using and having success with!