[The following post is sponsored by Healthy Choice]
Anyone who reads this blog fairly regularly knows that I’ve had some ups and downs with my weight. My goal is to once again be a size ten, which is the smallest I’ve been since becoming a mom. Totally reasonable goal. I can get back there again. But the three top things standing in my way are:
1) Portion control
2) Portion control
3) Portion control.
I don’t know what happened to me that makes me eat past the point of being full, but I do. A lot. I’m sure Dr. Phil would have fun trying to figure out just what kind of void I’m trying to fill, but since I haven’t been invited on his show I have to figure out a solution myself.
The last time I lost a significant amount of weight was a little over a year ago, when our kitchen was being installed. There was a month where we didn’t have a sink. Actually, we had a sink, but it was sitting in a box waiting for the counters to be made and installed, which took a month. Without a sink, I couldn’t really cook, because I couldn’t wash anything. I think it drove my husband crazy – he got a lot of take-out that month. But luckily for me, I love frozen meals. It was like a free pass to just microwave something for every meal and not feel bad about it.
That’s the hole where our sink was supposed to be
I wasn’t really trying to eat less during that month, and yet I ended up losing twelve pounds! I was exercising a few times a week, but nowhere near enough to cause that kind of weight loss. It was the portion control. I’m usually home alone for lunch, and I don’t always want to go through the trouble to cook just one portion of something, so I make enough for a few meals…but more often than not the extra portions don’t make it into the fridge.
However, I would never make more than one frozen entree. Ever. That would just be weird. I eat one and I’m done and I’m full like a normal person. Hence the fairly effortless weight loss during the sink-less month. I can make and eat an entire pot of pasta, or I can microwave and eat an entree that’s under 300 calories, and either way my brain tells my body that it’s full.
A recent study by Healthy Choice had 60 participants replace ten meals (lunch or dinner, not breakfast) a week with Healthy Choice meals, and add two or three fruits or vegetables to their diets. After one month, participants had lost an average of six pounds! Plus, they had increased their intake of dietary fiber, and significantly reduced their intake of saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium.
In an effort to lose some weight I’ve been making some small changes. The first one has been the easiest: drinking more water. I really don’t like water, but I do feel significantly better when I drink it. However, I will never give up diet pop (I will also never give up calling it “pop”). Now, I make myself drink a glass of water for every can of pop. It’s an easy way to make sure I’m getting enough, without really feeling deprived – I know if I finish that glass of water, some pop is waiting!
I’ve made a conscious effort to run more errands each day on foot. I’m really lucky that I live in Brooklyn, within walking distance of grocery stores, banks, the post office, pharmacies, and other places where I can get things done close to home. I still need the car if there’s something heavy to haul home, but now that the weather is nice again I’ve been on foot more and more. It’s definitely time to get my bike in for it’s spring tune-up so that I can tackle some of the errands that are a little farther away, as well.
I’ve also been buying more individually packaged snacks for myself, instead of big bags – there’s that portion control thing again! I find this works especially well with desserts. A hundred calorie pack of cookies tastes great and leaves me satisfied. On the other hand, if I open a sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mints cookies, the entire sleeve will be gone within an hour, guaranteed.
I picked up the Creamy Basil Pesto and the Roasted Red Pepper Marinara, both from the “All Natural” line. I’d stayed away from them before because they’re made with nine-grain pastas, and I’m a white pasta girl and was a little wary. Both of these steam cook, which means you don’t pierce the plastic cover before cooking – there’s a special vent that releases steam.
The first one I tried was the Roasted Red Pepper Marinara, which was very good. It’s like a regular pasta with chunky marinara sauce, but with a kick. It already had three kinds of cheese on it, so I didn’t add anything – it was tasty just the way it was, nine-grain pasta and all. At 270 calories it was very filling – there was a lot of pasta in there!
The Creamy Basil Pesto, at only 240 calories, surprised me right out of the box: it looked good frozen! There were lots of tomatoes and broccoli pieces. It tasted even better than it looked, with a delicious but light sauce and, again, tasty wheat pasta.
I was surprised that I like the pasta in both of these, and when I checked the label for a clue I was suspicious of the main kind of flour used, something called Ultragrain. A little research and I discovered that it’s a white wheat flour. That explains it! That’s why the pasta wasn’t heavy and gummy like some regular wheat pastas I’ve tried. I buy “white” bread made with whole grain white flour that even my picky picky Jake loves, and I add some white wheat flour to a lot of my own bread recipes. I never though of using it in pasta. It definitely works.
I’ll be buying both of these entrees again, and I can’t wait to try more. There are a few that I’m dying to buy but haven’t been able to locate in any stores near me, like the Grilled Vegetables Mediterranean, and Tortellini Primavera Parmesan, as well as several of the Fresh Mixers. If I can find enough of the vegetarian varieties to make things interesting, I might just try my own Healthy Choice one-month experiment!
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has Compensation Levels of 1 & 13. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.