There’s one very important component to success on the Foodie Magazine “Diet” Challenge: planning.
What I discovered as a restaurant reviewer trying to lose weight with Weight Watchers is that you can eat anything you want—so long as you plan ahead for it.
Here’s how I do it:
If you’re trying to lose (or maintain) your weight, you need to have some idea what your daily calorie target should be. With Weight Watchers, it’s a daily Points Plus target, but the concept is the same (just with smaller numbers).
If you don’t know how many calories you should be aiming for, the free SparkPeople tool can give you a good idea.
Then, you go into your tracker or journal, wherever you’re going to be keeping track of what you eat, and put in your dinner.
If you’re following my meal planning suggestions, you can plan out your week ahead of time so you know what kind of meal (quick-cook or longer prep, slow cooker, etc.) will be best for what you’ve going on each day, and then you can pre-shop for all the ingredients you need. This is a pretty important step with this Foodie Magazine Challenge, because the recipes tend to have more ingredients and be a bit more complex.
Once you know how many calories/Points you’re going to be eating for dinner, you can figure out the rest of the day. So, if you know that dinner’s going to be a little heavier, you can plan to have a lighter breakfast and lunch. Or, if you know that dinner is pretty light, you can go ahead and splurge a little at lunch, etc.
The big trap to AVOID is not planning dinner in your tracker, and then getting there and realizing it’s more calories/Points than you have left to spend.
It’s kind of like budgeting: Dinner is usually going to be your biggest meal of the day (especially on this challenge), so you want to make sure you budget enough to cover it, and cut back if necessary the rest of the day.
Some other tips:
- Bulk up meals with fruits and veggies. On Weight Watchers they’re “free,” but even if you’re counting calories, they’re so low as to be practically free. And the more you eat, the fuller you’ll feel. Plus, they’re super healthy! All of us should aim to make sure that the majority of our diet is plant-based.
- Don’t go hungry, but snack wisely. If you’re hungry between meals, drink a big glass of calorie-free beverage (I like unsweetened tea) and eat some fruits or veggies. My go-to right now is crudite with a little hummus. The hummus has protein, which also helps keep me full, but it’s a small enough amount of Points not to throw off my whole day.
- Don’t forget: snacks “count” too. So put ’em in your tracker.
- Don’t make yourself crazy. This isn’t about perfection. It isn’t about hitting EXACTLY 1400 calories, or whatever. It’s about getting pretty close consistently. In Weight Watchers, you get 49 extra Points each week to play with, for things like eating out and special occasions! So cut yourself a break.
Got questions? I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist or anything like that, but I have done this a lot so I can endeavor to answer any questions you’ve got in the comments!!