Had another meeting with my dietitian and I handed over a few days of My Fitness Pal logs. I've been using it the past week just so I can see how my food intake is shaping up, calorie and nutrient wise.
(I'm still all about my Fitbook but periodically I need to do a geeky spot check.)
While I'm doing better, my sugar content is still a bit too high. I had highlighted some areas where I knew I should have eaten something else, but Meryl found even more.
Those date-sweetened protein bars? Too sugary. Gluten-free granola? Too sugary. That smoothie I grabbed while running errands? Yep, too sugary.
She gave me a guideline: If a food has 5 grams or less of sugar per 100 calories it's considered low sugar. Ten grams of sugar or more per 100 calories is a high-sugar food.
"So if I keep my total sugar grams below ..."
That's when she stopped me and corrected my thinking. I was figuring that as long as I kept my sugar grams below a certain amount a day I'd be fine.
With that thinking I could eat spinach and jellybeans all day and come out just fine.
What she wants me to do instead is to look at each food and make a judgment whether it's low sugar. Now of course, I don't have to do that with things like protein or fat or non-starchy vegetables (remember, we're breaking me of my diet mentality). It's mostly for packaged foods. And seriously, I didn't really think about all those dates in the protein bar because I figured it wasn't "added sugar." But for the most part, sugar is sugar is sugar, and the bars are kinda high.
Let's take these almonds for example. (And I need to interject that this post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.)
While the words "Oven Roasted Dark Chocolate Almonds" might sound totally decadent, it turns out that these babies get a big thumbs-up as a low-sugar snack.
An ounce of the almonds is 160 calories and 4 grams of sugar, not to mention the 5 grams of protein and 13 grams of healthy fats. You also get 30 percent of your vitamin E, 6 percent calcium, 8 percent iron, and 15 percent magnesium.
And, no, there's no artificial sweeteners. the almonds are sweetened with a blend of sugar and stevia extract.
Most importantly, they're delicious.
I've tried other cocoa-flavored almonds and the icky aftertaste kept me from trying them again. But there's no aftertaste at all with these, and an ounce is a great afternoon snack.
There's also an Oven Roasted Sea Salt flavor with only 1 gram of sugar per ounce. And while those are really good, these dark chocolate ones are my new faves.
So my homework for the next two weeks is to be more sugar aware and look for ways to flip the script when it comes to my old go-to's. I need to think vegetable before I think fruit. Hard-boiled eggs instead of protein bars. Hummus and bell peppers instead of popcorn.
Wait, popcorn is a sugar?
No, but it's a starchy food and I need to keep an eye on those as well. When I first started with Meryl I drastically cut back on my starches because I was all gung-ho on cutting out sugar, dairy and wheat. In the ensuing months, I've been sliding back into old habits, albeit wheat-free ones. Starchy carbs and sugar tend to hold onto water and spike insulin, creating bloat, extra weight and cravings.
So my complex carb servings will be twice a day, ideally earlier in the day.
As you may have guessed, I haven't been focusing on the scale the past month because I've been focusing more on my digestive health, and lemme tell you, I am so much better!
I won't go into particulars but I will say that I haven't had to reach for the Rolaids in a month, and I am far less "irritable" than I've been in ages. My stomach doesn't make weird noises and tummy aches are gone.
So now that we have healed my gut issues, I can focus back more on getting the rest of this weight off.
The gameplan is to stick to around 1,600-1,700 calories but not to obsess over those calories. If I'm eating the right way (for me, not for you or Gwyneth Paltrow or anyone else) and sticking to that range, the scale should start moving again.