August 25, 2014


When I hit my most recent rock bottom about a month ago, I told my husband that we needed to establish some food and exercise rules. Something that helped me guide my weight loss the first time around was having certain guidelines to keep me active and help me feel satisfied and in-control of my eating.

My #1 food rule, then and now, was to limit meals eaten at restaurants. Not only is it expensive for us as we try to get by on only one salary, but it's never healthy, even when we make the "better" choices. (Call me old fashioned, but a salad shouldn't be my entire day's worth of calories.)

Unfortunately, when I made this declaration to my husband, it was right before an onslaught of visits from friends ... so in the following few weeks, we went out six times. Still, the fact that I had brought this up beforehand made us more aware of how often we were going out - the number getting higher bothered us both. I made the best decisions I could while out, even when I didn't want to, and in the past two or three weeks since the visits have stopped, we haven't gone out at all - in fact, this past Friday, we made dinner at home before meeting friends for the evening.

An addition to the dining out rule is to not eat food bought/given out on campus. I had a bad habit last year of getting stressed and going downstairs to Einstein's Bagels or the vending machines and going completely nuts on super carb-y unhealthy foods. I also have a co-worker who loves to bake when he gets stressed - last year, I would help myself to more than my share of what he brought to our break room. This year, I am bringing my meals and snacks to work, and I am going to avoid eating anything other than what I have brought. I have already been incredibly tested with this - before the semester even started, we had a department meeting and they brought tons of baked goods. I said no thank you and skipped the socializing to head to the gym.

Another work-related rule is take the stairs instead of the elevator. This is not a huge challenge, my office is only on the third floor of my building, and my classrooms are all first or second floor. It's a little thing, but I know that anything that keeps me active is good for me.

Both at work and at home, I have a rule to drink only water or unsweetened tea. When we moved last year to the sweet tea region of the country, I found myself ordering some almost every time we went out to eat. The temptation is certainly less if we reduce/eliminate going to restaurants, but it is still there - when you want something sweet, a sip of juice or a diet soda. I don't want to drink my calories, and I don't want to fill my body with chemical junk. I feel a lot better when I drink at least 3 bottles of water a day (about 96 oz.).

My last rule is no eating after dinner. Often in the past year, I found myself after dinner, watching TV and mindlessly snacking on popcorn. I make sure that I eat enough during the day and at dinner that I do not need to eat more after. I finish dinner, I log everything into MyFitnessPal, and then the kitchen is closed. This also helps keep me focused, because nighttime is the time I have found myself most likely to binge.

Other than that, I don't have any very strict rules regarding my meals. I try and watch what I am eating and not just the portions - just because something fits in my day calorie-wise doesn't mean it's the best choice. I keep the fridge stocked with fresh fruit and hard-boiled eggs for snacks, plus things like single servings of cottage cheese and string cheese. I have been diligent about logging my meals into MyFitnessPal - even when I overeat, it all gets logged. I know I need to get better about eating more vegetables - I am trying to introduce more of them to our meals. Last night, for example, I made a turkey tenderloin and served it with some zucchini and onions that I sautéed in 1 tbsp. of olive oil, garlic, and smoked paprika. It bulked up the meal without being a lot of calories, and both my boys loved it.

What about you? Do you have any food/exercise rules?


Anonymous said...

We try to stick really hard to no eating out during the week and only two meals out on weekends. It works better some weeks than others, but definitely works to remind us that we have options at home that will work.

I have to take my gym clothes with me and change at work so that I drive to the gym and not home at the end of each day.

I've been sneaking veggies in by serving a side salad with every meal and adding spinach to my smoothies. It makes them look funny, but the taste is still the same.

FogDog said...

No eating off my kid's plates

Kara said...

I've been rule free for months now and I need to get back to some. Today was a real eye opener I walked on the treadmill for the first time in awhile and it hurt my back. The machine stopped after 15 minutes and I didn't even try to fix it or walk around the block to make it a mile.

Kami said...

I have a couple of rules, but I try to keep it simple. I do not eat fast food, rarely go out out eat, weigh in regularly, and no candy bars (a trigger food for me). I've found that meal planning and preparing food on Sundays for the week ahead helps me stay on track and follow my rules.

I am a teacher and also have a hard time staying out of the treats in the lounge or during professional development. I am trying only to take something if it is healthy which is rare.

LovelyDreams said...

I have similiar rules: Eat food I make myself as often as possible. No night snacking. Aim for 100g protein per day.

Anonymous said...

I've been trying to get back on my rules after this whirlwind of a summer (new job, new house, new everything, lol!). So far the ones I've been sticking to are no coffee except on weekends (since I fill my coffee with too much creamer and black coffee tastes gross), no wine except on weekends, no soda unless I'm eating out, and only eating out once-twice a week.

As far as working out, now that I'm over being sick (fingers crossed!), I am aiming for working out every weekday, and at least once over the weekend.

Getting back in to the groove with baby-step rules is always helpful IMO!

Donna said...

I drink at least 2 large glasses of water a day. I am allowed 1 diet soda, if that. I must do some movement every day. Additionally, I have a 3-day real exercise pact. (Swimming or walking for me.) I am working on no eating after dinner, but may need to keep an evening snack due to diabetes.

My rules are fairly pat, but I do allow a day of relaxing them somewhat. I eat a paleo diet about 85% of the time, but that's a given, not even a rule anymore.

Denise said...

I'm on day 30 of a Whole30, and I'm nervous about the freedom tomorrow will bring. Even though I really always had the freedom--I'm an adult, as it were--I've come to like the way my body functions without all of the garbage I was feeding it. I will try to reintroduce some things, but probably not grains at all. Oatmeal, bread, pasta, tortillas, corn chips, donuts, even innocuous grains like quinoa... they're all bad news for me emotionally, and they don't contain any nutrients I couldn't get from other sources. Even though there are LOADS of grain free treats, they require a lot more time and effort to make so I'll only make them for special occasions.

We'll see.
I'm kind of scared.

Donna said...

Denise, I did a Whole30 last May (2013). It was the best thing I've ever done for myself. A year later, I eat a few grains, no legumes, lots of proteins, vegetables and fruits, and stick really close to paleo. There's a really wonderful group on Facebook (I'm a member) called Post 30 Paleo. It's perfect for people like us. Lots of ideas, support, and friends. Check it out if you like.