As a part of the Healthy Family Project, I mentioned what I am doing to regain health and wellness as a busy, homeschooling mom of four.
This month, the challenge is to eat a balanced assortment of foods each day, being mindful of the portions, and to drink 8 fluid ounces of water, 8 times a day.
How to (not) eat healthy
I stink at portion control. I double stink at eating a balanced diet. And, please, do not ask me to count calories.
A typical days food assortment for me includes coffee, maybe a bowl of cereal, whatever is leftover that the children will not eat, and a large portion of dinner. I will also suck up whatever chocolate is available. Around the time that Bill gets home, I will realize that I have not had anything but two cups of coffee to drink. I will also munch while I prepare dinner and then fill up my plate to the brim with whatever I have fixed for the family.
When the day is over, I cannot tell you what I have eaten. How much? Was it well-balanced? No idea. If I were to count my calories, I would have to estimate something around the 2,000 to 2,200 calorie mark. Ouch.
I will lay my head down and make plans to eat healthy the next day only to forget my aspirations with the dawn.
Why can’t I eat a healthy diet?
If I analyze myself, I know several things that inhibit appropriate food choices.
1) I eat for every reason under the sun. Stress relief. Hormonal shifts. Depression. Celebration. I don’t know if my stomach ever really growls. I’m too busy feeding myself for too many reasons other than nutrition.
2) I eat whatever is leftover to save money. I have trained myself to save the healthier options (fruit and vegetables) for Bill and the children. I skip those food groups and tell myself that my sacrifice is saving us money.
3) I eat whatever is convenient because I fail to plan for breakfast and lunch. My children are perfectly content to eat cereal for breakfast and peanut butter sandwiches for lunch… every day. I like variety and will pick through the freezer or refrigerator, mixing and matching whatever is available that no one else will eat.
How can I lose weight without counting calories?
The only times I have been successful with weight loss I did two things: 1) I ate what I wanted when I wanted it. 2) I watched my portions to keep my calories low.
With a house full of children and a long list of responsibilities, do you have time for counting calories? Me neither. So, I decided to come up with a simple solution for knowing what I should eat each day and tracking the portions to lose weight… hopefully FAST.
Using a set of adhesive magnets, I created a Nutrition Tracking System. Each magnet equals one portion for that food group. Using all of the magnets allows for the dietary needs of a 1,800 calorie diet as recommended by MyPlate, which used to be the food pyramid. As I eat something, I will move the magnet to the “finished” column. I know with a glance at the refrigerator what I have eaten and what I have left. When all the magnets have moved from one side to the other, my eating is over for the day.
I plan to eat 1,800 calories each day for a month or two and then lower the amount to a 1,500 calorie diet by removing the magnets I will no longer need – one grain and one vegetable magnet. My diet will remain in line with the dietary recommendations for MyPlate.
In order to know what a portion is, I made a ready-reference list to keep close to the magnets.
But, I thought about you too and how some of you are working mothers or on the go all day long. So, I have a printable available to make it portable too.
Just print out the portable file, laminate it, and fold it in half. (I used a closed pair of scissors to make the crease flat.) Add velcro tabs on both sides and move the pieces from the “available” side to the “done” side every time you eat. Easy~peasy.
What do you think? Will this work?
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