Monday, December 10, 2007

Small Changes Make the Difference

Sometimes people say to me, "Oh, it is SO HARD to lose weight. I just don't have the disciple or the energy to change my whole lifestyle." I think this is one of the reasons that the majority of Americans are now overweight or obese. Most people WANT to lose weight, but maybe they don't really know how. With all the diet books, pills, fads and gurus out there, it's a real shame that so few people understand the truth about losing weight. Small changes.

Sure, you can lose weight making big changes. Lots of people do. Maybe they cut out all sugars, carbs, even fruits. Maybe they drink shakes for their meals, or write down every morsel they eat, or get specially made meals delivered to them. That works for some people, but not most. It's just too disruptive to many people. We like our comfort zone. Hey, I am no different. I like sweets sometimes, and I like to eat out. I really believe the key, for me, is making small changes I can live with.

Let me share a little victory I enjoyed last week. My middle-school-aged son had a basketball game at 5. I went and watched him play, and then afterwards it was dinnertime and we were both famished. "Mom, can we go get burgers? Please? Please please pleaaaaaaaaaaaseeee????" It sounded good. After all, we haven't had burgers in ages, and he certainly burned enough calories at that game to have one. But I paid attention to my body and realized I was craving salad. I could only think of one place that might have a salad bar nearby, so we went there. As soon as I walked in, I was attacked by a display case full of pies and brownies. There was no salad bar. There were monster-sized posters of gigantic burgers on the walls. My son was thrilled. Me, not so much.

We sat down, starving, and I went straight to the salad section of the menu. It was pretty bad. Salads with deep fried chicken on top, loads of cheese, bacon, fried stuff. Hmmm. All the pictures looked fattening. Then I saw it. In small print, with no picture besides it, was a Chicken Cobb Salad. But wait...all the salads came with that nummy, greasy, salty, totally wonderful and fattening grilled foccacia bread (aka, 2 pieces of bread with 1/4 cup of butter melted on it, fried, and then topped with cheese). I had to make a decision.

The waiter came, and my son ordered his bacon double cheese burger with fries and a chocolate milkshake. I ordered my Cobb salad.... with GRILLED chicken, and with the dressing on the side. They didn't have any low fat dressings, and I adore blue cheese, so I went with the Blue Cheese Vinaigrette ON THE SIDE (always do this... always!!!). I also asked them to give me a plain roll instead of the grilled focaccia bread. (I love bread with salad. It really does something for me). I asked for water to drink, and a fresh lemon slice to put in it. (This is a great trick, because the water always looks and tastes so much better this way and feels like a treat. Don't worry, almost everyplace has lemons on hand for things like iced tea).

When they brought my salad, guess what was with it? Grilled foccacia bread!! Just dripping with butter and cheese and garlic, smelling heavenly. I weakly asked, "where's my roll?" "OH! I'm sorry, I forgot! Just keep the grilled bread!" and she ran off to find me a roll. My son, grinning and eyes gleaming, was glad to take the bread off my hands (whew). She brought back a small, plain, white roll. The salad was fantastic (okay, average, but it really hit the spot). Romaine and iceberg, cucumbers, and sliced grilled chicken. It has some bacon bits on it, and I picked off half. It had a sliced boiled egg in it, and I picked out most of the yolk. Instead of drenching my salad in high-fat dressing, I left it on the side. I dipped my fork in it before each bite. I only used about half of the dressing... I used about 2T max. I remember someone telling me about this tip in the past... the fork dipping thing. I totally rolled my eyes. That was the dumbest thing I ever heard!! I mean, I used to ask for EXTRA dressing. I used to put 1/2 to 3/4 CUP of dressing on my salad, I kid you not, and sop up all the extra with that grilled bread! You see where THAT got me. Anyway, I am a dressing lover, but now that I have gotten used to doing this, it is really great. I get a taste of dressing with every bite. JUST enough. So I ate my yummy salad and I ate half of that small roll, and drank 2 tall glasses of water. It was great.

When I got home I looked it up: I had only eaten about 500 calories! If I had gone with the flatiron steak salad (which caught my eye), I would have eaten well over a thousand calories! Crazy! Add a coke to that, or worse yet, a milkshake, and you have eaten an entire day's worth of calories in ONE meal of a SALAD!!!! See why small changes mean so much? It wasn't HARD. It just took a little thought. Anyone can do this.

And so, this morning, I am down to 243 pounds. I am excited! Thirty five pounds gone. 230's, here I come!


Heather said...

eating out is so hard nowadays. it seems like every chef in the world wants to make everyone fat. I think you did your best and I give you a lot of credit for trying, despite the restaurants attempt to fatten you up! and congrats on the loss.

Karen (aka Deadbudgee) said...

Wow...that took so much determination and have come SO far, Lyn!!!! Congrats on losing yet ONE MORE POUND!!!! They are adding up to make you one hot Mom!!!! Way to go!!!

Hanlie said...

You are doing so well! And you're right, we just need to think carefully when we go out!

Anonymous said...

i am learning SO much from you. thanks for sharing it so thoughtfully and honestly.

Well done!


Ms Ingrid said...

Although I have a completely different approach ("all or nothing"), because I am a food addict, I still enjoy reading your blogs.


honib1 said...

w hooooooooo whoooooooooo that is so AWESOME congrats on the healthier choices.. this is what I talk about all the time.. and portion control.. and look at you .. you did it.. CONGRATS.. it can be done.. we can do this.. one small step at a time YAY

Anonymous said...

Thank you for those advices on self-control ...its very hard to do when you're eating out...I always feel like getting the bang for the bucks though! I try to avoid eating out in general.

Applauds for the weight loss!