I need your help. I am a very overweight, middle-aged woman. I have been fighting my weight for many, many years, and although I have won many battles, the weight seems to be winning the war.
By most measures, I’m pretty healthy. My blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar are all fine. Better than fine, they are all at the low end of normal. I’m not on any meds, which I have been told is quite uncommon at my age. I have had a scan that let me know that my veins and arteries are clear. And underneath the weight, I have a strong, athletic body.
Ups and Downs
But, all these years of carrying the weight is beginning to take it’s toll on my joints and muscles. I am having back problems, and my knees are starting to give me trouble. Plus, being slightly post-menopausal tells me that I am losing some of my built-in protections against heart disease. So I have really been applying myself to getting this weight off once and for all. Last year, I lost 75 pounds. I felt great! And then I put it all back on. Well, all but five pounds. You know how that goes. This year, I tried again. I lost 7 pounds in a week. For the next two weeks, I bounced up-a-pound, down-a-pound, up-a-pound, down-a-pound each day. So I gave up.
But I don’t feel like it is the diets that fail. I believe you can follow just about any diet and lose weight. Granted, some are healthier than others, but you could lose weight even on a diet of crackers and water. The thing is, can you stick to it? Or maybe it’s can you stick to it long enough?
Why I Have Failed
I’ve been on some weird ones, but most of the diets I have been on would be considered to be pretty healthy. Most have been made up of lean meats, fruits, and veggies, plus each diet adds a few of it’s own special twists. My downfall has always come down to this – having my food ready. If I haven’t prepared my food the night before, I end up in the cafeteria at work, or worse, eating from the vending machines. The cafeteria means pizza, burgers, and donuts. The vending machines mean candy, chips, and pop.
Life in the Fast Lane
But it’s not just that. My life, like so many of yours, is 100 mph all the time. I have a full-time job, with overtime. I run 2 businesses, and several websites. I have a house, dogs, cars, and a yard to take care of. Laundry, dishes, shopping, and errands. Dental appointments, chiropractor appointments, funeral to attend (used to be weddings!). My kids are grown, and my parents (whom I love and miss) are gone. But many of you are raising children and taking care of your aging parents, which just adds to your lists. Plus some of you have school or extra jobs. And then we have computers, iPhones, texting, Facebook to keep up with, and interactive online video games. We are busy, busy, busy. It’s no wonder that the fast-food industry flourishes like it does.
And THAT is my downfall. I just don’t have the time (or energy) to spend preparing and cooking healthy, low-cal or low-fat or low-whatever foods all the time. I have tried the prepare-a-weeks-worth-at-a-time trick. It works for a week or two, but then I’ll have a weekend of non-stop gotta-do-it stuff, and there goes my weekly cooking time, and come Monday, I’m back at the vending machines and the fast-food places. A couple of days of that, and my life feels more manageable, time-wise at least. But the belly keeps growing. Yours may be the hips, but for me, it is the more unhealthy belly fat.
This is how fasted-paced my life is – I don’t even like having to stand and wait for 2 or 3 minutes while something cooks in the microwave. I know I should slow down, but that just isn’t going to happen.
So Here Is The Plan
Some of the common wisdom says that you should develop a diet plan that fits your lifestyle. Well, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that many people have my same too-busy lifestyle. So here is what I have decided would work for me, and maybe for you. If I could go into my kitchen, open the fridge or a cabinent, and just GRAB something – something healthy and low-this-or-that, and go back to whatever I was doing, or just throw some food in a bag for work, life would be good, and maybe I could lose some weight, without having to devote more of my precious time and energy to it.
So all I need is a list of what I should buy at the grocery store. And this is where I need your help. Help me make that list. What would you add it to? More ideas means more variety. Two, or three, or twenty-five heads are better than one. Throw in your 2-cents worth.
Here is my list. I will add to it as I think of things. I will try for things that are easy on the refined sugar, low-cal, and low-fat. I could go for some super-extremely simple recipes, like my one for strawberries and chocolate.
Fast and Healthy Foods to Grab and Go
- Baby Carrots dipped in Walden Farms ranch dressing (no cal, no sugar, no fat, no nothing)
- Craisins (dehydrated cranberries)
- Nuts (pecans, walnuts, macadamias [love macadamias!] brazil nuts, others)
- Bananas and Grapenuts (dip the banana in the Grapenuts, sort of firmly, makes a crunchy banana)
- Apple, oranges, any grab-and-go piece of fruit.
- Strawberries dipped in “chocolate”. A tablespoon of cocoa, a bit of Stevia, a tablespoon of skim milk. Instant chocolate!
- Vemma (a healthy energy drink) mixed with Ginger Ale (to make it go further)
- Plain instant oatmeal packets, mixed with Stevia and Cinnamon.
Leave your ideas in the comments. Leave your name, and maybe someday we will turn this into a new diet book, and I will put all of our names on it as the authors. Hey! Leave your idea for a name for this book, too. Let’s make it a contest. What’s the prize? Well, for now, just the honor of naming the book. And a bigger by-line. And a smaller waist!