What I ate to Lose 20 Pounds

I lost 20 pounds and thought I would share what I ate to lose 20 pounds with you. It is important to me that everyone understands that changing my lifestyle to be more healthy still includes LIFE!

Medical Disclaimer

I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or personal trainer. I am sharing with you what I am doing based on my conversations with my doctor, a nutritionist, and personal trainer about me and the goals I have for myself. Do not feel ashamed about what you eat or how much you eat or how much you weigh. I do not need or want you to lose weight, eat differently, or exercise more. I need and want ME to do these things. Many people struggle with disordered eating or feel ashamed of their bodies. If you feel like this is a struggle for you please seek out help from a professional.

My Relationship with Food

I LOVE good food and love eating good food. Nothing wrong with that, but I am an overeater. I eat more than I should of everything. Veggies, Meat, Dessert, Chips, Snacks, just about anything is fair game for me to over indulge. Part of my problem is that I eat tend to eat very quickly. That leads to my body not sending the signal that I am full until well after I have already overeaten by 10%, 15%, or even 20%. As the doctor’s call it my “satiety” signal is overridden by my eating speed.

I want to make sure everyone catches that this happens, even with veggies and other healthy foods. You might think to yourself that this isn’t a problem because veggies are good for you. I agree that veggies are good, but what is happening is that I am training myself to “feel full” in an unhealthy way. So today it might be veggies, but tomorrow I might be out with friends and eat an entire basket of chips before dinner.

Can I Feel Full and Lose 20 Pounds?

My personal goal over the last couple of months has been to retrain my body to recognize fullness appropriately no matter what I am eating. That means I have been eating much more slowly. I even used a timer to try and make my meals last 20-25 minutes. I would set my fork down in between bites, take a sip of water, and then take another bite. It seemed like I was wasting so much time. But what I noticed was that I was actually feeling full without feeling stuffed.

There were some misadventures where I didn’t eat enough. Oops. So I grabbed a snack here and there when I made that mistake. A couple of times I ate way too fast and felt pretty horrible. And that is okay. I was experimenting with something new. There are bound to be mistakes.

How do I think about Food?

I have lost 20 pounds in the last 3 months or around 1.5 pounds per week. Everything I do is under the watchful eye of a professional trainer, doctor, and nutritionist. I say that because I am not trying to lose weight as fast as possible, or really at all. The goal is to be more healthy as a way of life. That involves examining my diet and exercise habits and then replacing them with habits that will help me be healthy as a way of life. In my case I was around 80 pounds overweight as a starting point, which means making any changes that are healthier will result in weight loss for me.

I have a couple of rules that I follow as it relates to food based on my own experience and conversations with my team:

  1. No foods are off limits completely.
    My life isn’t lived in a bubble. I go on vacation, I take clients to dinner, I like to try new restaurants, Friends have us over for dinner. Food allergies are not a problem for me, so all food remain available for me to eat. I can’t meal prep on Sunday and then just eat it every day. My life doesn’t work like that.
  2. There are no good or bad foods.
    Cookies aren’t bad food, they are cookies. Vegetables aren’t good food, they are vegetables. Even dieticians agree with me that there are no good or bad foods. Instead of passing judgement on food I have learned to ask a question: Does this food move me closer to my goals or farther away from my goals?
  3. Foods that are difficult for me to enjoy responsibly are only enjoyed away from home
    I’m not super human. I have willpower limitations. At the end of a long day if there is a bag of tortilla chips, I’ll eat it. The whole bag. So, I reserve eating chips and dip for when we go out to eat. Again, chips aren’t off limits (See rule 1) and chips aren’t bad food (See rule 2). It is difficult for me to be responsible with them.

What I ate to lose 20 pounds

Here’s a mostly comprehensive list of the food I have eaten since I started being serious about my health and fitness:

  • Pizza
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Chips and Queso
  • Tacos
  • Bacon
  • Smoked Chicken
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Quesadillas
  • Quinoa
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Beer
  • Wine
  • No Bake Cookies
  • Banana Bread
  • Orange Soda
  • Jambalaya
  • Pimento Cheese
  • Grilled Cheese
  • Chicken and Rice Soup
  • Steak
  • Twice Baked Potatoes
  • Chick-Fil-A Sandwich
  • Waffle Fries
  • Coke Zero
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Nachos
  • Red Peppers
  • Onions
  • Chicken Broth
  • Water
  • Skratch Labs Powder
  • Fresca Original
  • Cheese Straws
  • Black Beans
  • Avocado
  • Hot Sauce
  • Spaghetti
  • Arrabbiata Sauce

Normal Guy, Normal Food

Will this list change as time goes on? Probably. Depending on my ultimate goals and objectives some of these foods might make fewer appearances in my diet as I move along. I can say with confidence that seeing success without having to say, “I’m never allowed to have ______ again because of my diet.” has been a HUGE motivator for me. I hope this was helpful for you. I’m just a normal person like you trying to create new habits for my own life around health and fitness.

I will say that I have worked to answer the question “What should I eat to be more healthy?” And I can say that while the sweets and treats have been reduced; I don’t feel deprived. Which is a good indicator that I was treating myself too often.

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