I have talked to a couple of friends recently who are trying to lose weight. After hearing what they eat, I decided to talk about food. Again. Pretty sure food will be a frequent topic of discussion on here. I think about food basically ALL DAY. I eat food all day. If you have read any of my food posts, you know I am not in the freezer section buying diet food.
Let’s go ahead and get right to the point. If you eat the boxed meals found in the freezer section, do you feel satisfied when you are finished? Or are you still hungry? I think I could eat a couple of those “meals” in one sitting and still be hungry! And what is actually in those meals? Processed junk. Again, if you have read any of my posts, you know how I feel about processed food. IT IS JUNK. Do not eat it. Unfortunately, advertisers have gotten you to believe that buying diet food in the freezer section is going to make you lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle. You are believing a flat out lie, people! Stop buying that crap! I will admit that in my twenties when I lived on my own, I bought those meals. I was a teacher and they were very convenient for lunch. I LOVE pasta so I always went for the pasta based diet food. They were low in calories and I got to satisfy my craving for pasta. Sound familiar to anyone? I do not believe in depriving yourself of any food. Life is way too short to deprive yourself. If I want pasta, I am going to eat it. However, I now buy the whole wheat variety and I only eat pasta on a rare occasion- maybe once a month.
Another trend that is HUGE right now is the meal replacement shake. I know a few people that sell various brands of these shakes. I love you dearly but I will never be a customer. Do I think shakes are bad? No! I think shakes are perfectly fine when they are used as a supplement to your day. I do not like the idea of using a shake as a meal. Ok, there are times I will make a protein shake for breakfast before I go to the gym. However, I only do that on days that we run. I do not like to run on a full stomach but need something to give me a boost of energy so I occasionally have just a shake. But you can bet that I am stuffing my face with food after I am done running. If I tried to get by on just a shake as a meal, I would be a raging lunatic. On the days that I have just a shake before we run, I make sure to bring snacks or buy something in the cafe. And by snacks, I mean a thermos full of my oatmeal or my veggie tuna salad NOT some measly protein bar. I basically have a second breakfast on those types of days. I do not understand how anyone thinks it would be a good idea to have a shake for breakfast and lunch and then eat “a sensible dinner.” Are you kidding me? Lock me up in a padded room because I would be RAGING. A shake may satisfy you for a short period of time after you finish it but what about an hour later? Even 30 minutes later? Aren’t you hungry? If you are being honest with yourself, you will say yes. If you are drinking shakes, PLEASE read the ingredients label. Make sure you can pronounce those ingredients! If you can’t, you probably should not put it into your body!
Why do boxed meals and meal replacement shakes bother me so much? You think by eating LESS you are doing yourself a favor. Wrong. You are just depriving yourself of the nutrients your body NEEDS to function properly. If you work out, you absolutely have to stop eating diet food. Stop it right now! Food is fuel. Do you really think your body can really perform well during your work outs if you are eating pasta from a frozen box? NO! If you do eat packaged foods or use meal replacement shakes, do you get tired throughout the day? Do you get crabby? Your body needs more energy and you get that energy from eating real food.
Since I do eat all day, I eat a lot of snacks. I have already gotten on my soap box about snacks but I will step up there again. Do NOT buy those 100 calories snack packs! Again, just processed junk! Why do you buy them? Because they are low in calories? Stop filling your body with fake foods and eat wholesome foods! It is much healthier to eat a banana (roughly 100 calories) than to eat one of those packaged snacks. While we are talking snacks, please stay away from sugar free and low fat labeled foods. Sugar free just means it is artificially sweetened. Artificial sweeteners are so very bad for you. Stop using them. Stevia, honey and agave are safe sweeteners.
Ok, so what should you be eating? Get into the mindset of looking for wholesome REAL food. Most likely, if it comes in a box, you should not eat it. What does that mean exactly? Stop shopping in the freezer section unless you are buying meat, fruit or vegetables. Eat lean meats, plenty of veggies and fruits. Eat whole grains if you do not have issues with gluten. Remember that you actually need to EAT FAT. Yes, your body needs healthy fats or it will hold onto the bad fat you are trying to lose. I get my sources of those healthy fats with raw nuts, avocados, black beans and oils. I prefer grape seed oil, coconut oil and olive oil when I am cooking. Get on My Fitness Pal and start tracking your food. It is kind of annoying to track at first but you get used to it. Once you get into the habit, you start memorizing how many calories are in certain foods. For example, I know a cutie orange has 35 calories. I learned tonight that 15 pieces of plain m&ms are about 50 calories. (What? I already said I do not believe in depriving myself!) Once you start memorizing calories, you can also start making better choices with food throughout the day. Next time you go to the grocery store, stick to the produce and meat sections. Your cart should be mostly filled with food from those sections. When shopping in the middle aisles, keep those selections to a minimum! Think about it for a second, the middle aisles are stocked FULL of processed foods. Stay away from them! Stoping buying the convenient packaged foods. You have enough time to make yourself a healthy meal. Yes, you really do have time. Stop telling yourself you only have time to heat up a boxed meal in your microwave. If eating the right foods is important to you, you will make the time to cook a good meal.
I will now step down from my soap box. For now……..