Stilettos are sexy.
Fast cars are sexy.
Some say facial hair is sexy (though generally only on men).
But let’s be honest, schedules aren’t sexy. Still, sticking to a schedule when it comes to your eating and exercise habits can make all the difference when it comes to weight-loss success. Schedules become routines, and routines become habits. Having healthy habits, behaviors that are seamlessly integrated into your life, is the key to long-term, permanent weight loss, because creating routines not only cements habits but also reinforces consistency. Whatever you do consistently is exactly the result you will get: If you exercise regularly, you will become fit. If you eat within your calorie range consistently, you will lose weight and then maintain that weight loss. Likewise, if your exercise and eating habits are haphazard and inconsistent, you will not achieve the results you want.
Ultimately, your body will do exactly what you train it to do.
My eating plan is very consistent from day to day. I’m kind of a creature of habit anyway, but when you think about it, most of us tend to eat the same foods over and over again. As I said earlier, to be on my “table,” those foods must meet two criteria: they must be healthy, and I must absolutely love them. It’s enough variety for me, and as far as the things that I don’t eat or drink anymore, the things that are on that other table? Well, I ate a lot of them—too much of them—for decades, so I kind of look at it as if I’ve already had my share of them. Even some of my old, familiar “diet foods” are on that other table. For years I had a powerful addiction to Diet Coke. Haven’t touched the stuff in the years since I lost weight. Do I miss it? Nah, not really. I just sort of figure I’ve already had my lifetime supply, so I’m good.
I call my eating plan a Food Blueprint because it’s not a specific meal plan so much as a formula for eating. I have very specific times of day that I eat and something I want to accomplish nutritionally with each meal or snack. It’s important to me that I eat every two to four hours to manage my hunger. I find that when I get ravenously hungry, I tend to make poor food choices, grabbing the high-calorie, nutrient-poor treat rather than something that’s aligned with my healthy-living goals. I have a Homer Simpson “D’oh!” moment every time I do it (still happens from time to time), but it’s a good reminder that eating from my Food Blueprint is the best way of eating for me.
The Food Blueprint is a system of eating five to six mini-meals per day. Not revolutionary, to be sure, as lots of medical and weight-loss experts advocate for this approach. I find that it works for practical reasons, and I’m all about doing what actually works! There are four main reasons why this system works so well:
- Blood sugar stabilizes when you eat regularly, so you avoid high and low energy extremes throughout the day.
- Metabolism is fueled by two things: eating and exercising. You stoke the fire that keeps your metabolism burning when you eat.
- Hunger is kept in check so you don’t become ravenously hungry (which triggers unplanned eating, usually of unhealthy foods).
- It’s easier to practice discipline (this is not willpower, remember?) when you know you’ve got a yummy meal or snack coming soon! So here’s what a typical day on my plate looks like (see recipes section for many of my favorites) …
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