Weight Watchers, Atkins Diet, Zone Diet, fruit juice cleanse…I have tried them all, and none of these diet fads was a realistic, sustainable, long-term solution for losing weight – and keeping it off. After giving birth to two children, I carried an extra 15 pounds that I couldn’t lose if my life depended on it. After the calorie counting, point counting and food measurements drove me insane, I finally one day said to myself, “Kate, stop focusing on being thin. Focus on being healthy. You are better off being a size 10 and being healthy, than being a size 2 and starving yourself. Do the necessary things you need to do to keep your family healthy!”
I sat down with my husband that evening and shared my epiphany. We collectively agreed that there were many things that we would do to start living a healthier lifestyle. Here is our plan we have stuck to for over two years now. The results have been dramatic:
- No eating out at restaurants. We used to eat lunch in restaurants at least 3-5 times per week, and dinner at least 3 times per week. Not only is restaurant food an explosive calorie bomb, it is also expensive. We allow ourselves either Friday night OR Saturday night to eat out as a family. That’s it.
- We plan all meals for the week on Sundays and buy all of our groceries needed for these meals on Sunday as well. We found that when we don’t plan our meals, it is too tempting on Wednesday evening for me to call my husband and say, “Honey, can you pick up some barbeque on the way home. We have nothing to cook.” I also get my least favorite (but healthiest) meal out of the way on Monday (salmon and broccoli) so I don’t skip it later in the week.
- We all (mom, dad and kids) pack our lunches. A whole grain sandwich, kiwi and yogurt with bottled water is much healthier than any restaurant or school cafeteria will serve.
- We avoid processed, frozen and fried foods. Instead of frozen chicken tenders we serve baked chicken, fresh fruit over frozen fruit and veggies in lieu of French fries.
- My German-born husband says there is a saying in German people use when they want to lose weight: Friss die Haelfte. This means “eat what you normally eat, but just eat half”. So instead of eating 4 slices of pizza, eat 2. If you are craving a hamburger, share it with someone and eat only half. Instead of getting 2 scoops of ice cream, get the kiddie cone with one small scoop. Get it?
By sticking to this plan, I have not been hungry one second. I eat all day, but I am eating much healthier options. And when I eat something terrible, I simply friss die haelfte. I have 200 times the energy, I sleep better at night…oh…and both my husband and I have lost 15 pounds – effortlessly!
It’s sad that our society puts such emphasis on outward appearance. I wish the day would come where instead of people saying, “I wish I had a body like Cindy Crawford” they would say, “I wish I had low cholesterol and a healthy heart like Kate Raidt.” We can’t always control the genes we have been given, but we can control the way we shop for groceries, how much we eat in restaurants and the example we are setting for our kids.