Back to Basics

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I want to start this post by saying that this is based on my personal experiences and opinions - I'm not trying to judge or bash granola bars or convenience foods, because I have certainly eaten my fair share! This post is a reflection of my recent paradigm shift with my own eating

A few weeks ago I came across this post on Kelly the Kitchen Kop. The post intrigued me and opened up some really interesting dialogue. It also led me to Courtney's blog "Losing It" and we exchanged some really thought provoking emails on this topic.

Since doing WW, my eating habits have changed significantly, but I've definitely made changes to the changes since I've joined - especially in the last few weeks. I posted the following on the 20's board the other day:

...For me, my mentality with eating on WW has really changed since I started. In the beginning I was just happy to count Points and figure out what I could budget each day/week. I would stock up on fun 100 calorie packs and enjoyed eating a variety of WW products (especially the ones I would stockpile when I visited the US) I remember getting really upset at DF after one trip because he commented that I brought back a lot of "junk food". My response was that I wanted to have treats that I could eat. Sweets have always been my weakness, so by choosing the 100 calorie version of something it was my way of justifying that I could have it.

With my diagnosis, visits to the naturopath and the more I read about food and nutrition, I have really changed the way I look at food and the way I plan my meals. Especially now with my elimination diet, I've cut out mostly all processed foods and focus on making wholesome nutritious choices. Because of all my sensitivities I'm no longer able to eat a lot of the things I used to eat, but even if I could again I don't think I would go back to that.

When WW launched the Momentum plan, I really noticed that they were starting to focus more on this concept as well. While they still offer a ton of convenience foods, there is much more focus on the Filling Foods for all members.

I asked the gals for their opinions and thoughts on the topic of WW + Real Food and many of them had some really interesting and insightful things to say. It really proved to me that I'm not alone!

Kim - Now that I'm nearing my weight goal, I find myself focusing more and more on the health aspect of this journey, just as much as the pure weight loss aspect. It's no longer enough for me to be losing weight, or to look skinny...I want to feel healthy, and know that I am making the best choices for my body. I want to feel fit and healthy. Maintaining a healthy weight is certainly a part of that, but so is making the smartest food choices, and exercising regularly.

Similarly, I'm not going to cut down on exercise to speed up weight loss. I would rather lose more slowly while feeling good about my lifestyle. Ditching the granola bars is just one step in this journey, and I don't mean to imply that no one should eat granola bars or convenience foods (and I hope no one takes it the wrong way!). But for me personally, I want to work towards clean and wholesome eating. I'm by no means perfect, but this is the ultimate goal I'm working towards, nutrition-wise.

Another Kim - AMEN! That's EXACTLY what I did when I started, I was heavily dependent on the 100 calorie snacks. Now, I have slowly eliminated them and am much more satisfied with whole foods that I make, regardless of whether they are slightly higher in points value. You hit the nail on the head!

Jess - Yeah it would be great to have everything come pre-packaged in little x calorie packs but personally I don't want to fill myself with whatever is in them and I don't particularly find them all that appetizing or filling.

Another Jess (my favourite youtube star) has been focusing on choosing whole grains, nuts, fruits and healthy oils as much as possible, rather than choosing processed/convenience foods.

Other people commented that they lost less when the relied heavily on 100 calorie packs and convenience foods. Others said that (like me) they had started to make a change after a diagnosis of an illness or disease. It also seemed that many of the Lifetime members who had commented on the post had started to make a similar shift.

In defense of the 100 calorie packs - they can be great for satisfying cravings of sweet or salty things. They are pre-portioned for moderate consumption and can definitely help people survive their cravings without splurging on a billion points. To quote Judith Thompson in Lion in the Streets "We all need treats" - but might it be better to splurge a little bit more on some good quality dark chocolate or a homemade baked good without refined sugar? I realize that everyone is different, but it's definitely something to think about.

If you do find yourself consuming a lot of 1 Point bars and 100 calorie packs, I would just take some time to ensure that you're getting in your Good Health Guidelines and trying to choose Filling Foods as much as possible. We all know that there are a million different ways that one could spend their Points in a day... the possibilities are endless! At the end of the day, we want to make sure that we're getting in the good stuff before the not-so-good stuff most of the time.

It has been really interesting to talk to other people about this topic, especially those doing Weight Watchers. With my recent changes in eating I have so many different things that I'm trying to be cognizant of in my eating and meal planning - food sensitivities, Points - not to mention enjoyment of my food!! I read a ton of food blogs (some of my favourites include: Carrots n Cake, Heather Eats Almond Butter, VeggieGirl, Care to Eat, Chocolate Covered Katie, Eat Live Run, Gluten Free Girl, Kath Eats Real Food - just to name a few) and I really enjoy reading about these writers' passion for good food. Usually they post meals consisting of wholesome, nutritious foods made with amazing produce, whole grains, low-fat dairy or soy, healthy oils and lean proteins - the basis for good nutrition and healthy eating - and indulge on yummy treats that help to keep them satisfied. Amazing.

I said later on in the post on the 20's boards that if you had told me four or five years ago that I would be getting excited about things like broccoli and almond butter, I would have thought you were crazy. Times have certainly changed, but so have my lifestyle, health and weight. Do I miss reaching for a Peanut Butter Bliss bar, 100 calorie pack or just a regular cookie once in a while? Sure. But I know that I'm doing a great thing for my body and I think that that is worth more than all the cases of 1 Point bars in the world.


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Wonderful post; and thank you so much for the shout-out!! :-)

Louise said...

I have always tried to go the homemade route with food, especially when I became a Mom. Not only is it healthier, it is much more environmentally friendly (packaging makes me crazy!), you can try to buy local produce, meat, etc. when you can (read the "100 Mile Diet" for more on that one), and much more cost effective. Like anything else, when you get used to it - it is easy. I have been quite shocked at times when I learn how much take out and junk food people eat. Thanks Ash!

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