Thursday, January 06, 2011 1:44:36 PM (Mountain Standard Time, UTC-07:00) ( )
First of all, thank you so much to everyone who posted or emailed or FB'd me about my last post. You all brought tears to my eyes! Thank you so much!
Many people have asked me about what I eat and what else I'm doing to lose weight. So as I promised in my last post, I wanted to just describe what I've been doing. Let me just begin by saying that I'm not a dietitian nor do I have a degree in nutrition (though I don't have a degree in Photography either, haha), but I do have a basic understanding of most of the types of diets and weight loss regimes out there (South Beach, Adkins, Weight Watchers, etc.) So saying that, please note that I'm just sharing what I've done.
For starters, I know that weight loss is fairly straightforward. It's just a question of calories in versus calories out. Once you have a calorie deficit of 3500 calories, you will lose one pound of weight. What you eat can make a huge difference in your overall health, but a calorie is a calorie is a calorie despite what anyone else says. Even if you eat super healthy food, if you eat too much of it, you won't lose weight. And vice versa, you can eat a super unhealthy diet (like this guy) and still lose weight as long as you're eating fewer calories than your body burns. You won't be healthy, but you will lose weight.
So knowing this, I knew that I just needed to reduce my caloric intake. Of course, doing so isn't usually all that easy. Also, I'm not one of those people with a hyper metabolism who just massively overeats junk food. I've always had a relatively healthy diet (i.e. rarely drink soda, eat fast food maybe 4 times a year, never eat potato chips, probably haven't had a twinkie or other similar food in 20 years, etc.). I just have a slightly slower metabolism than normal which means that I fight tooth and nail for every pound that I lose. In looking at my current daily calorie intake in August (which was around 1800-2000 calories a day), I knew that I was going to have to drastically cut my calories in order to lose weight. I had cut my calories to 1400 in January 2010 and had tried to lose weight, but it just wouldn't really budge. So this time, I was determined to succeed.
So I decided to cut my calories down to 900-1000 a day. I know this seems drastic to some, but any more than that, and I just don't lose weight. My metabolism just isn't that fast. But so few calories a day just seems almost impossible to do for month after month. Here's what I know about my own body and weight loss:
1. My body will viciously hold onto weight if it feels that I am "starving."
2. I don't do well with food cravings if I'm feeling hungry.
3. I have a serious sweet tooth and love food in general. So dieting is hard if I feel that I'm "denying" myself yummy food.
What to do?
The first simple solution to problem 1 and 2 was to eat every 2 hours all day. If my body always had food to digest, then it wouldn't feel that I was starving. Also, with food always in my stomach, I wouldn't be hungry all the time. This would also help my metabolism and hopefully keep it elevated throughout the day, burning more calories.
The third problem I tackled head on. I LOVE cooking. I always have. It easily rivals photography as a passion for me. So I turned all my cooking energy into creating delicious, low calorie foods; foods that would leave me feeling like I had had a delicious treat. I also decided that NO food would be considered off limits. I could eat anything that I wanted. I just couldn't exceed 1000 calories a day. So if I wanted to blow all 1000 calories on a milk shake, I most certainly could, haha. However, if I want to have a full stomach all day and not have nasty cravings, then I need to choose low glycemic, low calorie, highly nutritious foods.
So here is a list of what I ate on Monday along with photos of the food. This is EXTREMELY typical of what I eat on a daily basis. (As a sidenote, I've also realized that I STINK at food photography . . . . definitely something to work on, haha).
8:00 am: Big bowl of Bob's Red Mill Oat Bran cereal with peaches and sugar-free maple syrup (150 calories)
10:00 am: Whole medium grapefruit smothered in powdered erythritol, my fav zero calorie sweetener . . . tastes like sugar, looks like sugar and is all natural. Zsweet is the brand I prefer. (70 calories)
12:00 pm: Super yummy, hearty, homemade 13 Bean Chili (2 cups) with a clementine orange. (230 calories)
2:00 pm: My non-coffee version of an almond mocha latte with foamed milk and 1/2 of a GoLean Crunchy Caramel Chocolate bar (I mentioned I have a sweet tooth, right?). (100 calories)
4:00 pm: This is the time of day that I'm always fighting the munchies, so this day I opted for something "snacky:" a 100-calorie bag of kettle popcorn. (100 calories)
6:00 pm: Tuscan Lemon-Garlic-Rosemary chicken with fresh winter squash and peas. It all tasted soooo much better than it looks. Yum! (250 calories)
And that was my Monday. I usually don't eat after 6:00 pm as I want to sleep on an empty stomach so my body will burn fat while I sleep. Final calorie count for the day: 900 calories
The one thing you will notice lacking from my day's food here is bread or really flour of any sort. Though I say that no foods are off-limits and I do feel that I can eat anything I want, I've generally cut out all bread and flour. That's been the hardest part, because I do love bread. But I had found that highly glycemic foods, like white bread, don't make me feel full and actually spike my appetite. So 20 minutes after eating a slice of white bread (which usually has around 100 calories), I would find myself feeling even hungrier and really, really craving more white bread. That effect in itself was motivation enough to stay away from white flour in general. By moving to whole grains, beans, lean protein and fresh produce, I've really helped to remove a lot of the food cravings. I'm planning on continuing to post my menus and recipes (like the chili and chicken from this post) for people who are interested in them.
In addition to my diet, I have also added exercise. I am under strict doctor's orders to NOT do anything that will be jarring to my lower spine due to a massive birth defect of my lower back, so running and such are off limits. But I do power walk, bike and do circuit training 6 days a week.
Anyway, that's just a little of what I've been doing. . . . . more goodness is to come!
Nichole Van has repeatedly been labeled as a hot, new, up and coming photographer. As a Utah wedding photographer and a Utah
portrait photographer, she specializes in turning everyday life into art. Nichole loves expressing the unique beauty of
every client, creating artistic images that make people gasp when they see them.
As an international award-winning photographer, Nichole won the prestigious International 8x10 Portrait of the Year from
Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) for 2007. Consequently, her international award winning photography
was featured in Rangefinder Magazine in June 2008. She has also taken First, Second and Third place honors from WPPI in other
international competitions for her child and family photography. Additionally, Nichole has received numerous Accolades of
Excellence and currently holds an Accolade of Photographic Mastery from WPPI.
In addition to her love for photography, Nichole loves teaching and enjoyed being English faculty at Brigham Young University
for nearly 10 years. As the best of both worlds, teaching photography to others is her passion. Nichole currently offers
international photography workshops focusing on helping others enhance creativity and artistry in their photos. Combining her
excellence in teaching with her photographic knowledge, Nichole’s Life as Art Workshops are quickly revamping industry standards
for photographic workshops.
Nichole lives in southern Utah County with her husband and three children. You can see her work at www.nicholeV.com.