Spoiler alert: I don’t! Neither does the pup.
I do not like to miss out in life. No one really does. That’s why I could never go on a diet to lose weight. Diets are usually about depriving. And in periods like the holiday season, people tend to then “fall off the bandwagon” or “take breaks”. I get it. If you are depriving yourself to lose weight, you really do not want to do that, while others are enjoying their holiday season and the food, that comes with it.
The problem with “taking breaks” is, they come with the risk of taking much longer than one had originally planned. One day easily leads to another and, if the break has led to overeating on that one day, the guilt will add to the risk. Guilt usually let’s us react stubborn and defeated. We will then just say to ourselves “I completely messed up yesterday, might as well continue like this”. “I am worth nothing”, “I can’t do this etc.”, “I will always have to miss out”. This is why I am not taking breaks. You can fine more about my thoughts on taking breaks here.
When I started my journey and saw it was successful, I knew I had to make sure this was sustainable. I had to shift my mindset from quick diet to lifestyle change. And I also needed to understand this was not going to be quick either. Changing habits takes forever. But if you only try to stop habits, it’s going to be actually a lot more difficult, than replacing old with new habits. I clearly did not want to miss out. At all. And so I got started.
However as with any change in your life, it requires training and repetition. And creativity, time, patience and passion. Mostly for your self (self-compassion). So, are you actually doing this for yourself? Good for you! You are not sure if you are self-compassionate at all? Check-out this online test here, that comes with some interesting tips as well.
However, if you would like to get a flavor of how difficult it is to change habits, try to change one simple habit for the next couple of days. For example instead of stepping into the shower with your left food first, try to make it a habit to put the right one in first. Share your experience in the comments. I am sure it’s more challenging than you might think right now.
Today I would like to share some of my “hacks” that help me make this a sustainable lifestyle without having to take breaks for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries or even vacation.
Doing WW (Wellness Wins aka Weight Watchers) has taught me and continues to remind me of the actual portion size I should be eating. For example a cup of boiled pasta with my sauce / topping of choice is absolutely sufficient and will satisfy my hunger. But satisfying my hunger means I am satisfied, not feeling full. So my portions these days are a lot smaller but as satisfying as they used to be.
This allows me to eat the actual thing instead of food “imposters” for things like pasta, rice etc.. But there is exception to this rule for me. And those are high calorie foods that I would really miss, but would not like to eat tiny portions of. Ice cream for example. I really can’t eat a 1/4 cup of the real thing or max. 1/2 cup and be satisfied. I just can’t. Same for cakes or muffins etc. .
In these cases I am using food “imposters” to help with my new sustainable lifestyle. But I know those are not for everyone and some might be perfectly fine with a small portion. If you are not and are fine with some processed food in your diet, give these hacks a try:
- Enlightened, Halo Top or Nick’s etc. ice cream – high protein, low calories and low fat (uses artificial or Stevia derived sweetener)
- Kodiak Cakes flapjacks mix – high in protein, great as flour substitute for muffins combined with banana
- Plain fat free Greek yoghurt and sugar free & fat free Jell-O pudding powder to i.e. bake cheesecakes or imposter bagels etc.
- Egg Beaters to make scrambled eggs or omelets, replace eggs in baked goods etc. – tastes like egg, no cholesterol
- Tostitos salsa con queso medium for my pretzel bites and to make mac & cheese
- Swerve sugar replacements (monk fruit or stevia work as well, I just prefer swerve) for some baked goods that require sugar
- Banana in place of sugar in my morning yoghurt or as ice cream (nice-cream)
- Sugar free Lily’s semi sweet, dark or milk chocolate morsels for baking or as glaze for cookies etc.
These are some of my personal “hacks” that are not all that “natural” or “home made” but are helping me not feeling deprived and not having to miss out.
I am not a big Christmas fan. Yes, I just said that. However I do love ginger bread in all shapes and forms. And so my holiday season has to have ginger bread cookies. And I could of course get the real deal. There are some stores that have the real German fare. However the portions I could eat would be tiny. And while I would be able to stop myself from eating more, I would also feel deprived. Yes, I would miss out. And does anyone really like missing out on their life? I don’t.
So I searched the internet, mixed a few recipes I found together and made these little suckers. And they are as good as the real deal. In my books. If you would like the recipe, I will post it later under “baking”. It includes replacing brown sugar with swerve brown sugar replacement and using egg beaters. Also it has applesauce to replace parts of the butter and light butter swapped for the real full fat deal. They are SO good.
Just to be clear. I am not perfect and I am snacking one or two more of these than I originally planned. But that is still not even remotely bad or breaking my calorie bank. Thanks to food imposters.
As many of you, I am quite busy. I am working a lot and I also try to bring delicious, home made, food on the table. In order to do that, I am investing in tools that can help reduce time or effort or simply make things easier. First I bought a spiralizer to make veggies spaghetti. But as I shared earlier, I prefer the real deal so I am just using spiralized carrots and zucchini to increase my portion size when I feel like it without increasing calories. As I said, I do not like to miss out. And because sometimes only a bigger portion will do.
My hubby and I do like ice cream. While we are very used to eating Enlightened as our go to ice cream, once in a while a nice-cream (ice cream made purely of frozen bananas) is a great addition. And yes we could put the lightly thawed bananas in a food processor and try to not miss that sweet spot of them being (ice) creamy and not too fluid. But honestly the noise and hassle was not ours. So we got us a “Yonanas“. It’s not really a lot less loud but a lot faster. And it works with bananas and other fruits.
I also own a KitchenAid food processor to help with making home made falafel or low fat graham cracker crust etc. . Things need to be fast.
The latest addition to our household is a Ninja Foodi Digital Air Fryer, Convection oven and Toaster (one machine for all). It literally cuts the time of many dishes I had to bake in less than half. And time is super valuable. Plus it will allow for a lot more low fat roasting, frying etc. and increase my repertoire in recipes. I am super excited and of course had to try it right away to make these delicious raspberry chocolate pockets.
I have taught myself to think of what I am eating as my new normal. They are not food replacements in a diet, they are foods that I have come to like that I am using instead of other foods I also liked, that were not good for me. Using these tricks allows me to keep a great balance. I will have a pizza and when I do, I am not eating 1-2 tiny slices, because that would deprive me. But I am not having pizza every other week, either. Balance.
I do like ordering Asia food. But I will not do it all the time and when I do, I am going for things I can mix up and stretch to satisfy me without breaking the “bank”. Lately I am obsessed with “create your own” poke bowls. That way you can mix things up and balance high calorie parts with low or no calorie ingredients for a great and still healthy meal. And the sauce comes always on the side. “Create your own” is always great to make “fast foods” work on plan. My pizza i.e. is a vegetable pizza as I love fresh veggies on my pizza. I can order less of the sugary marinara and less of the high fat cheese and still enjoy a real pizza. And even eat 4 slices or more, if I want to.
For Christmas eve I am going to make a traditional dish I grew up with. It is not low calories at all. Nor can I really use imposter foods. I will still enjoy it. I will balance my portion size and eat low calorie and low or no point foods for the rest of the day. Instead of a chocolate Santa, I am going to have one or two of my ginger bread cookies and an espresso to round up the meal. And the next day? I will just continue eating in my current lifestyle as I did not take a break at all. I made the food I want work IN PLAN instead of pausing the plan.
No one really likes to miss out. So make sure you find foods that you like and figure out the portion size that satisfies you and then make it work in your lifestyle. Just note, in the beginning you should follow the portion size recommendations to retrain your brain. At least if like me, you were taught to eat two large portions of everything. It will take a while for your brain to catch up. I have shared some of my hacks (smaller plates, eat with a tea spoon etc.) to trick your brain. But once you are more comfortable with that, you can start balancing to your liking. And lose the weight or keep it off.
The ultimate “miss out” would be losing my health and not missing out on life, but missing out my life, period. I think making adjustments in a way that still allows for a happy and healthy life is the better choice. For me, anyways. And the hubby and the pooch are on board too. Probably mainly because I am the cook in our family.