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The Saturday Skinny: Being prepared is a good motto for losing weight

From road trips to family gatherings, preparation is key to adhering to healthy eating plans
By: Don Chaddock, Managing Editor
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In this week's installment we're going to look at a word many fear: preparation.

Having a healthy eating plan is great in theory, but if there isn't a way to stick to that plan when life throws curve balls, it's easy to fall off the "chuck wagon" and revert to old eating habits.

As a dad who works a more-than-full-time job, I don't have time for trying to figure out what to eat after I'm done feeding the kids, cleaning and taking care of other chores. To take care of my kids and to ensure I'm around for a long time, I need to stay active and make healthy food choices. This weekend, for example, I'm in another city at my parents' house. Knowing I would be in a location in which my food choices would be limited, I opted to pack an ice chest with the essentials: raw spinach, romaine lettuce, salsa, some pre-cooked healthy meals (along with cooked quinoa and brown rice), mushrooms and chopped bell peppers. There is now no excuse for me to make unhealthy choices.

I do the same for my lunches and snacks at work. Usually after I've put the youngest to bed, I take time to pack my lunch. I try to vary my meal options, My snacks are always two pieces of fruit or one piece of fruit and a small container of non-fat yogurt (about 100 calories per container). Here's a copy of my plan:

LUNCH PLAN

Monday lunch: 4-6 ounces of lean meat (chicken breast is a good option), some steamed veggies, brown rice or quinoa.

Tuesday lunch: black beans on brown rice with salsa, steamed or roasted vegetables, garlic mashed cauliflower

Wednesday lunch: one very large salad with mushrooms, spinach, romaine lettuce, black beans, chopped bell peppers, 1/2 cup cooked quinoa or brown rice, topped with low-calorie yogurt dressing or salsa.

Thursday lunch: (repeat Monday's offering, replacing cauliflower with roasted sweet potato slices)

Friday lunch: (repeat Tuesday's offering)

Note: I try to limit my meat intake to once per day, and only once per week for my lunch. The rest of the time, I eat meat at dinner. I try to get most of my protein from plant sources, particularly when trying to focus on losing weight.

COOK AHEAD

I try to cook once or twice each week, usually on a lazy Sunday afternoon and one week night. When I grill, I make enough to last days, not just that meal. This makes it easier to pack lunches throughout the week. On the weeknight cooking, I opt for quick-and-easy items like quinoa (which cooks like rice), brown rice or roasting sweet potato slices (slice the sweet potato in circles, spread out of a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with olive oil, salt and pepper, roast for 20-30 minutes in a 375-degree oven). Like many, I do not have time to cook a meal every night. Warming up pre-cooked healthy meals for dinner is my best option.

PERSONAL NOTE

While I hit my goal a few weeks ago, I've decided on a new one: no longer being listed as "overweight" by the BMI. So, with that in mind, I am choosing to attempt to lose another 7 pounds from my previous weigh-in of 190 pounds, putting me at 183. When I started this journey almost two years ago, my BMI was 41.1, I weighed 303 pounds and was listed as "severely obese." It was depressing. Now, after a lot of hard work and determination, my BMI is 25.6, I weigh 189 pounds and I'm just listed as "overweight." My goal is to hit a BMI of 24.8. I can do it. I've already lost one pound.

Submit your questions to Don Chaddock at donc@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow us at Facebook.com/TheSaturdaySkinny.