I was asked by a woman in the Hypothyroidism group what my typical diet is like in response to my comment about a whole foods diet after she posted about her difficulty losing weight with restricted calories, which she did by eating 2 small meals a day. I need to comment about the restricted calories before I share with you my typical diet.
We are taught to believe that restricting our calories will help us lose weight. This is a falsehood from everything I’ve read recently. Women need at least 1,800 calories a day and men need 2,100 according to the World Health Organization. Anything less and we put our bodies into starvation mode. When our bodies are in starvation mode, they work even harder to keep the weight we already have. This is something our bodies were made to do when we were simply hunters and gatherers for those lean times when we could not find food. This goes double for women because of our child-bearing. Our bodies want to keep the weight for those times that we are nourishing another body growing inside us.
Breakfast is my most important meal of the day and it should be yours, too. You are breaking a long fast and getting your body ready for the day. You need energy. You need fuel. You need nourishment. I know a lot of people who skip breakfast, only drink coffee or have just something small. If I asked all these people how they felt later in the day, they’d probably tell me hungry or crappy or no energy. Who wants to feel that? I had enough of that day in and day out for months. I have always been big on breakfast foods, especially pancakes. Now, I’m big on what will keep me full and my insulin levels even so I’m not snacking and I feel good.
My typical breakfast in the last week has been this: half toasted sprouted grain bagel, mushroom and spinach in scrambled eggs (2 eggs, free range and anti-biotic free) and coffee. Now I also juice 1 beet, 1 apple, 1 orange, some grapes and then whatever other fruits and veggies I have and feel like throwing in the juicer. I drink this while breakfast is cooking. If it’s a work day, I normally juice this the night before to save me time in the morning. Earlier last week, I topped the eggs and veggies with some alfalfa sprouts and leftover salmon that I wanted to use up. Yesterday, I was bad and fixed Spam with it because my husband was wanting to fix it late one night, but stopped himself after I holed up in the bedroom so I wouldn’t succumb to the late night eating with him. Yesterday and today I also added on the side, a tomato slice with fresh basil. I have to give kudos to my best friend on the ability to do the fresh herbs because she and her husband gave us an AeroGarden for Christmas. On work days, I’ll eat about 8:30am. I find I’m not getting hungry until 12:30/1:00pm. And when I do get hungry, I don’t get the jitters of I-need-something-now-or-I’ll pass out.
My lunches tend to vary. It depends on if I’m home alone, it’s a work day or my husband is home. When my husband is home, I’ve leaned towards “dinner” foods for lunch. This past Saturday it was steak with mushrooms and onions, brown rice and roasted broccoli, asparagus, grape tomatoes, and onions. I’ve been conscious to give my husband larger portions than myself. Yesterday I fixed a white fish that I can’t remember the name of (wild caught, not farmed) with lemon slices, onion slices, fresh dill, olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper. I wrapped it all in foil and baked it. I served it with the leftover brown rice and veggies from Saturday. I have soup in the crock pot that will be lunches for the next three days (work days). Turkey, fresh veggies, and quinoa. Since starting this diet change, I make my own stock and freeze it until I need it. No icky gluten in my soups or stuff I can’t pronounce on the label.
I find I either don’t need a snack or just need a little something to munch on to tide me over. And I do mean little. A handful of nut and seeds, preferably raw, but I haven’t switched to raw yet. A few baby carrots and grapes. I was having cheese and crackers until I found out that the crackers I thought were whole grain, weren’t really whole grain.
My typical dinner when my husband is traveling is probably my favorite. Roasted eggplant, avocado, alfalfa sprouts, and tomato on sprouted grain bread. I fixed this last Friday along with some leftover navy bean soup I had in the freezer. Knowing my husband needed more than I did, I served him a full bowl of soup, while only serving myself a few spoonfuls. Saturday’s dinner was my chili that I had frozen after New Years Day with carrots and celery. I set out some crackers for my husband, but stayed away from them myself.
If you hadn’t noticed, I’ve followed the old saying, eat like a king at breakfast, a prince at lunch, and a pauper at dinner. I am also chewing my food even slower and making sure I eat slower. If we eat too fast, our stomach doesn’t send out the signal that we are full until it is too late and we’re grumbling, “Oh it hurts.” By the time I finish what I have in front of me, I am full, but not stuffed.
The first 3 weeks of this diet change resulted in losing 6 pounds without even exercising. I did not see these results with all the exercising I was doing before this diet change. I would lose a pound or two from exercising and then put it back on. Something everyone else with hypothyroidism can relate to. Over the Christmas/New Years holidays, I managed to only gain 2 pounds back. I have to say that while I still don’t feel 100%, but I feel better than before and I don’t feel fat even though there is still fat to be had on this body.