So a while ago I posted that I've lost a lot of weight and I posted a little bit of the beginning of that journey... my journey... for of course, anyone who loses weight will do it in different ways. Like I said before, initially (at the beginning of my weight loss journey) I lost weight while juicing fruits and vegetables in a juicer machine dealie.
After a while of this, I found that I had lost weight (I don't specifically recall how much, but it was probably 10 pounds or so) but was easily hungered (juice, while fresh and extremely good for you, didn't fill me up or make me feel full).
At that point, I had lost probably 15-20 pounds (of the 85 that I have now lost) and I went and had my blood work redone. I found that my cholesterol/triglycerides had improved somewhat and I could tell that I was getting healthier.
Before I had begun dieting, I hadn't had much love (or any, pretty much) for fruits or vegetables, unless, like most America, you counted french fries and ketchup. Veggies and fruits did nothing for me. I didn't know how to fix them, I didn't really want to eat them... I had some fruit around for my youngest son to eat, but I certainly wasn't a fruit or vegetable eating kind of person.
All this changed when I began to juice. So when I began to juice, I began to fall in love with fresh produce. It was YUMMY! And Good For You!
So, I knew that as I was transitioning out of juicing that I wanted to keep a diet incredibly rich with fruits and vegetables (in fact, almost exclusively fruits and vegetables because not only was I trying to lose weight, I was also trying to reign in my out-of-control cholesterol)... so, basically, instead of juicing my fresh fruits and vegetables, I began to just eat them raw.
Ah, raw foodism. I merrily slid into it for quite a while. Throughout the day, I would eat raw fruits, raw vegetables and salads like you would NOT BELIEVE. Now, I wasn't die-hard enough to not use dressings or anything (there are, actually, raw foodist people who won't even use normal salad dressings because they aren't raw/ have processed junk, etc., but I can't force down a salad without dressing. In fact, my favorite dressing right now is balsamic vinegar. Oh my goodness, it makes an amazing salad dressing and even if you DRENCH the salad in it it's something like 25 calories, total. But the balsamic vinegar I'm talking about is insanely expensive, not the type you buy in the grocery store for $2 a bottle. But I digress.), but I would say that for a nice clip of time (a few months?) my diet was almost exclusively raw fruits and vegetables... with some cooked veggies thrown in, like baked sweet potatoes or steamed broccoli.
And man! If you vary your intake, you can eat as super-varied and incredibly yummy (and insanely healthful) diet of raw foods. It's pretty impressive. In fact, I would say that at least 60% of the weight I've lost I lost eating a diet almost entirely of raw foods... perhaps 70% raw and 30% cooked vegetables. Tons of variety and almost strictly vegan (no animal products/milk products as those are the cholesterol problem foods).
What can you eat on a raw foods diet?!?
I'm glad you asked.
All morning I would eat fruit. Fruit, fruit, fruit. Oh! How I fell in love with fruit! Apples, pineapple, honeydew, cantaloupe, grapes, bananas (easy on them, though)... and then, there's CITRUS! Be still my heart- I would do almost anything for a good navel orange.
And salads! Oh my goodness, I just experimented and learned what, to me, made a good salad. I always start with raw spinach (usually baby spinach) because you just can't imagine how incredibly jam-packed with nutrients raw spinach is. I do probably 70% raw spinach leaves to 30% other lettuce leaves and then the sky is the limit!
I always include a lot of mushrooms because, believe it or not, mushrooms (and spinach!) have a TON of nutrients (did you know that vegetables have tons and tons of protein but it's protein that doesn't also come with cholesterol like you get from animal products?) and protein and almost no calories at all. I also load tomatoes on my salads, for they have very few calories and are oh-so-tasty.
Oh! And I forgot to mention beans. Usually on each salad I pile on some beans (canned, no-sodium-added... I like the cannellini beans and my husband likes black beans) because beans are incredibly good for you and have tons of protein.
Just writing this is making me hungry.
Anyway, then during the day I would always have some cooked vegetable, like broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potato, cabbage- you name it- but you have to be very careful here. The butter or butter-replacement you would want to put on these carry just as much calories as the veggie you're about to eat. BEWARE! It's the same with salad dressings. You can't BELIEVE how many calories salad dressings pack. So if you're having your veggies for weight loss, do NOT add calories.
With broccoli, cover the broccoli (after you steam it) with the juice from half a lemon and then with Mrs. Dash non-salt seasoning. With cauliflower, cover with some salt and lots of pepper. Find salad dressings that are incredibly low in calories. Be smart about your calorie intake in the form of dressings and vegetable toppings.
Adhering to this form of way of eating (with a few departures here and there but this is pretty much it) is how I dropped the weight. This way of eating, like I said earlier, is discussed in Dr. Joel Fuhrman's book Eat to Live:
This is an absolutely excellent book.
I actually found it while I was probably 60% done with my weight loss journey, but it helped cement in my mind what I was trying to do and why (and that what I was doing was, in fact, healthful and beneficial). When I found this book, I actually added the beans to my salads (Dr. Fuhrman wants you to eat lots of beans- upwards of a cup of them a day - but watch out! Most canned beans include a horrific amount of added sodium so either find no-sodium-added beans or try to find beans that have less sodium than others or make your own).
Now that I am basically done with losing weight, I am finding that I am at a point where I never even imagined, and that is the point of trying to learn (or teach myself) how to neither lose weight or gain weight, but how to maintain my weight.
This is tricky.
All my life, I've either gained weight or lost weight. I've never, ever maintained. And since, for the last two years, I've been gung-ho (especially the last year) with losing weight, slowly easing up on the weight loss and trying to transition into the weight maintenance phase is intimidating (scary, actually) because know the statistics:
Everyone Who Loses Weight Gains It All Back, And Then Some.
I'm sure you've read those articles, right? Cheery little articles about how you might as well not even try to lose weight because three years from now you'll just end up fatter than you were before you started dieting. Grand.
So, the question for me becomes, now what? What modifications will I be making in order to stop losing but not gain??
Well, at this point I'm just starting this new phase of my journey, so I'll have to get back to you on that. I can speak intelligently and with authority on losing large amounts of weight; now I'll just have to find my own way and report back as I go with my progress.
In the meantime, I made veggie soup tonight and it will be breakfast or lunch or dinner or whatever throughout the week for me (and my oldest son, who will eat it).
I cannot tell you how comforting it is to have this HUGE, GIGANTIC container of vegetable soup in my fridge. This means that, when I'm hungry, I can dip in a get a bowlful and eat it with a salad on the side and some fruit for dessert. To me, that is one of the most perfect meals.
I'll have to post another day on what I use and how I use it, for this is a no fat vegetable soup with Eastern overtones (I use wakame (sea vegetables) and miso, which are just soooooooo yummy in soup!). But right now my youngest son is waiting to be read to. Cute little cutiepie that he is, I cannot ignore him.
Could YOU say no to this begging, pleading little face?