First of all, good for you! You want to make changes and are aware of what areas in your nutritional life could use some improvement or tweaking. So many people don't bother to examine what, when or how much they eat before giving up because they "can't lose weight."
As a full-time vegetarian, I suggest experimenting with different breakfast and lunch options. The goal is to find the sweet spot of enough food to fill you up for several hours versus keeping the calories in check. Protein, fiber, and complex carbs are key. I'll give you a couple of my go-to meals that satisfy me pretty well without too much thought. (I eat breakfast around 9:30am and lunch at 1:00pm)
1/2 cup quick oats (plain-140) with 2 tablespoons dried cranberries (65). Add one cup of water and nuke for 2 minutes. 205 calories. I pair this with a large homemade iced coffee and milk combo that clocks in at 110 calories for a total of 315.
1 cup Kashi GoLean Crunch (190 calories), plus 1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt (70) plus 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries (50). 310 calories. (This is by far the most fullness from 300-ish calories I have ever achieved).
2 eggs cooked without oil (140), wrapped in high-fiber tortilla (70), and dressed with 2T peach-pinapple salsa (20). Total is only 230 so add 1 cup fresh cherries (or one peach, or one apple) and reach approximately 300.
Lettuce-less salad: 1/4 cup black beans (60), 1/4 avocado (80), 2T shredded cheese (55), 2T salsa (20), 1 cup chopped (or more if you want addt'l bulk with few added calories) raw tomato and carrots (35). Add a kiwi or 1 cup sliced strawberries to meal and reach 300 calories. (I ate this today for lunch).
Fitness Minutes: (104,667)
1,484 6/19/12 5:38 P
Thank you! I took another look at my nutrition and realized that my breakfast fat levels tended to be low in my vegetarian days. So, this morning, I decided to start with some almond butter, which definitely helped.
I'm going to add a high-protein mid-morning snack at 12 or so to tide me over. Perhaps something like a glass of full-fat milk, some oatmeal with nuts, or a serving of Kashi Go Lean cereal.
I took a quick look at your food tracker, and I have a few observations. 1. It looks like you are doing a great job making sure that you have fruits and vegetables in your diet. I see lots of spinach, oranges, nectarines. And you are not afraid to step outside the box and eat a bunch of vegetables for breakfast. 2. I see lots of low fat protein sources, too, eggs, chicken, and so on. 3. I see a lot of desserts and sweets. I have a great deal of trouble at Starbucks finding something to eat, because it all looks so good, but the blueberry muffin is 370 or so calories for very little nutrition. Could you substitute the a yogurt parfait? That would save 70 calories, and provide more protein and calcium, and also probably give your sweet tooth something to make it happy. 4. Vegetarian days are a challenge. I started eating more meat several years ago, when I found I was getting so tired after a vegetarian dinner that I could barely get up from the table. Most of the vegetarian meals I was making were so carb-heavy I was almost putting myself into a coma. I have been experimenting with beans a lot. If you do eggs on your veg days, that might be a good protein choice.
Someone else suggested adding nuts. I think that might be a good idea. I like almond butter or peanut butter with fruits and vegetables. I am currently sitting here on the couch with a bag of walnuts and dried fruit.
It's a long way from breakfast to lunch. Some things that help people to feel full for longer: Fiber - vegetables are a great source Protein - Micronutrients - fruits and vegetables are the only source of these. You seem to do a good job incorporating these items into your breakfast. Do you notice any difference based on what you've had for breakfast? Maybe you could try an additional egg? It's only 60 calories, and it may make the difference in how you feel when lunch comes around.
Perhaps try drinking more water? I can't think of anything else that would help, if you are unwilling to increase your calories. For me, I require 2500 calories a day, not counting my excercise, just to maintain my body weight. Some days, like today, I am more hungry, but I had a long run yesterday and a tempo/speed work run today. To lose weight, because of my daily excercise, I can still eat 2500 calories and have a calorie deficiency sufficient to lose. Too low calories results in the body holding onto everything, including fat. ESPECIALLY if you are working out. I've been there, it seems counter productive, but there it is.
If your body needs fuel, it need fuel. Could you take almonds or a granola bar or Clif bar to work to eat between the breakfast and lunch? Your blood sugar levels get out of whack if you go more than 3-4 hours without eating and then the body craves and causes you to slip up. Just some thoughts on what I have learned. Good luck!
Fitness Minutes: (279,253)
6/18/12 4:21 P
You can't beat yourself up because you ate a little more than you wanted. Remember, you're trying to change habits learned over a life time. that's not going to happen overnight, a week, a month or even a year. Change takes time. Thus the need to be patient with yourself and your body. NO ONE ever became a healthy eater overnight. It's just not possible.
So, don't worry that you ate a little more than you wanted. As the old song goes,"accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative". Give yourself credit for the positive things you do and don't beat yourself up because you ate a little more than you wanted. that's going to happen now and then.
As long as this doesn't happen all the time, you'll be fine. Spark People has never been about deprivation. it's all about moderation and portion control. I'll tell you honestly, learning portion control took me a long time to learn.
Depending on how long its been since you embarked on your healthy life style, you really just might need to give your body more time to adjust to your new habits.
Fitness Minutes: (104,667)
1,484 6/18/12 4:17 P
In the past, I've tried eating 4-6 smaller meals a day, but my tendency to graze usually leads to 4-6 BIG meals. As a result, I decided to nix that idea and stick with the traditional 3 meals a day. I try to split my calories evenly throughout the day (I work normal M-F business hour days) for my 1400 and 1500 calorie days. My problem is that I'm constantly hungry, especially between breakfast and lunch. (I can't eat lunch before 2:00.) When I get home, I often have only 200-300 calories left for the day, which never feels like enough, so I unfortunately go over a lot.
I'm very consistent with the other aspects of my plan. I work out in the mornings before work, which I love to do, and I usually drink 80oz of water daily. I usually eat breakfast at my desk as soon as I get to the office.
Today's the perfect example of how hard it is for me. Today is a 1400-calorie day. I didn’t plan to eat any string cheese, but I got hungry, and ate 2. I was only supposed to have 2 squares of dark chocolate, but I wound up eating double that. I don't want to increase my daily calorie range because I've already done that, and I don't think that's the issue. I also eat vegetarian (no meat, fish, or eggs) on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, which tend to be my hardest days. Can someone take a look at my Nutrition Tracker to figure out what's wrong?
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