The JEN Diet

Whelp… it’s Day 30!!!  I’m so incredibly happy to report that I made it through this Whole 30 experience successfully. I can feel the difference for sure.  Tomorrow I’ll do an official weigh-in, and I’ll report on it afterward.

This journey has really helped me to explore food a little more.  While during my first Whole 30 I kind of stayed within my comfort zone, this time I made a few culinary discoveries that I’ll definitely use in the future:

  • Cooking with ghee
  • Cauliflower rice
  • Sweet potato buns
  • Fried eggs on hamburgers/ pulled pork
  • Avocado
  • Homemade mayo

Plus, I’m getting into a very nice gym routine, and I actually look forward to going!  It’s a miracle!

It was hard at times– it always is– and it took a lot of work!  But in the end it was all worth it!

So, in the words of King George III in Hamilton, “What comes next?”

h2_7

That is the question.

Whelp, I thought a lot about it, and I think the trip to the doc last week really helped in the decision process.

While I didn’t really want a diet that focused on counting calories and tracking, I think it’s important that I start paying attention to portion sizes.  I also need to start focusing on things that are heart-healthy vs. not (I probably ate waayyyyy more bacon on Whole 30 than the average cardiologist would recommend).

I did a little research on the best diets for heart health, and the Mediterranean diet is up there at the top, along with the DASH diet, which is apparently an Americanized version of the Mediterranean diet.  The only problem is that in order to find out the specifics of these diets, you have to buy several books…a.k.a pay.  And I’m already paying for a Weight Watchers subscription.  So here’s what I’m gonna do…

I’m going to try a modified version of the DASH diet (from what I could learn of it), but also use the Weight Watchers point system as a baseline so that I can gauge portions.  Here are the specifics.  I’m going to call this the JEN DIET (so original, I know!):

Vegetables: As much as possible, with a focus on those veggies high in fiber and nutrients (more broccoli and leafy greens than potatoes and carrots, although they’re not off-limits).  Will avoid corn and corn-based products.

Fruits: Probably no different from I have been eating them currently.  This will be the biggest source of sugar in my diet (plus, they’re 0 points on WW!).

Legumes: I’m adding these back, but in moderation.  I’ve enjoyed not having the digestive issues that beans cause, and I didn’t miss them all that much.  Probably the biggest change will be the increase use of soy products.

Meat: I’m going to focus on lean meat, such as chicken/turkey breast, fish, seafood, and lean cuts of red meat.  I’ll be cutting back (hopefully) on the bacon and sausage that I’ve been eating so frequently during breakfast.  Perhaps only on weekends…

Dairy: Surprisingly, I didn’t miss dairy as much as I thought I might.  I’ll probably add this back but only eat/drink in moderation, choosing low-fat over full-fat.  My one reservation about low-fat is the sodium content.  So, if there is an overwhelming increase in sodium between the low-fat and the full-fat, I’ll pick the full-fat version and will let the WW points guide me.

Grains: I’ll be adding these back in, but only whole grains.  Brown rice, whole-grain bread, wheat pasta.  Hearty and heart-healthy!  I’ll probably start very small– 1-2 servings per day.

Sugar: Sweets will be reserved for special occasions only (and still will be governed by the WW points).  As far as added sugars, I will still be reading labels.  I think this is what is going to help me stick to my weight loss in the long-run.  Obviously this isn’t as easy to do when I’m eating things like bread, but if the sugar isn’t necessary, I’m going to avoid it.  For example, I’ll select smoked ham over honey ham.  And still no soft drinks.

Alcohol: I’ve never been a huge drinker, but I do miss my occasional glass of red wine!  And since 1-2 glasses per day is thought to be healthy by many doctors, I’m going to allow myself that, if the points allow for it.  I’ll avoid beer and hard liquor.

While it may seem like I’m getting very lenient with myself (it feels like it to me, too, after doing Whole 30), I’m really stressing the portions here.  I’ll be tracking them pretty closely.  I even bought a food scale for weighing ounces of meat, servings of rice, cheese, etc.  And where I am normally accustomed to not measuring ingredients when cooking, I will be putting my measuring cups and spoons into use!

I’ll, of course, still be exercising, and I hope to gain some endurance along the way to do more and work harder.  Today was a good day for that.  It actually felt great and not like torture at the 20 minute mark!

And I’ll still be posting!  I can’t wait to try some low-fat heart-healthy dishes that I’ll be sharing with everyone.

At the end of February, I’ll re-assess and see how it’s going, if I need to change anything, etc.  It’ll be an exciting ride.

Sooo… here’s to the JEN diet! Stay tuned for my weight loss number tomorrow!!  I can’t wait to share it!

 

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