Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Some Changes

A month or so ago, Roy and I decided we wanted to change our eating habits, at least for the rest of the summer, to see if we could accomplish two things.

Number one, I needed help in freeing up more of my time during the day, and secondly, we both wanted to drop some extra pounds that we had acquired over last winter. (You know, the whole bear-going-into-hibernation thingie.)

Other than when we were both working outside the home or when Roy and our daughter were at school at lunch time, I've always cooked three meals a day. When Roy retired from teaching two years ago, it was the two of us sitting down together to breakfast, lunch and dinner every day with rare exceptions. (You've heard the old joke about the wife of the newly retired man saying, "I married him for better or worse but NOT for lunch!")

As those of you who are regular readers of this blog may have noticed (ahem), I've been struggling with rearranging the priorities of what I do each day. I'm so happy my dear husband is now retired from teaching and finally able to pursue some of the things he's had on his wanna-do list for approximately forty years. At the same time, I've come to realize that I will never get to "retire" from my main job of homemaker and household manager. I've been trying to work harder, faster, more efficiently in order to carve out more time in my day for accomplishing some of the things I've been putting off for many, many years. As Dr. Phil would say, "And how's that been working?" Um, . . . not well.

One of the things we decided would/could/should give me more time each day was to somehow decrease the time I spend on meal preparation. Aha, I said, if I stopped cooking, that would provide me more free time and also we'd both lose weight! Great idea . . . but, let's face it, not practical.

But what did seem practical was to cut our meals down from three each day to two. So we've been having our coffee or morning latte or whatever when we arise and then waiting until 10:30 or 11:00 to have a "brunch." And bless my husband's little ever-lovin' heart, he suggested we both be on our own as far as what we prepare and eat for the brunch meal. (Hallelujah! I love it when he cooks for himself!)

I have to inject here that there are those mornings when coffee just doesn't do it and sometimes one or both of us need just that little something extra to get the systems (brain and body) out of first gear. I usually have a small bowl of berries to tide me over and Roy will sometimes have a few slices of cheese. (Can you tell I'm a carbo-type and he's a protein-type?)

This summer our brunch meal quickly evolved into him making a fruit smoothie . . .

. . . and me tossing together a "wrap" made with a whole wheat tortilla and whatever assorted veggies are currently available from the garden along with a little grated cheese.

Then in the evening around 5:30, I make a nice dinner (but nothing as elaborate as I might make in the winter) for both of us. Not having an automatic dishwasher, Roy has volunteered to do dishes every night after dinner. (Hallelujah! I love it when he does dishes!)

So besides giving me some extra time in the last month or so to pick and process fruits and veggies from the garden (hmmm, what's still wrong with this picture?), we've both lost some weight . . . and I know the time angle will continue to get better for me just as soon as the garden harvest is over.

We couldn't be trying out these new diet changes if it weren't just the two of us or if Roy were still working full time. But since we're in a new phase of our lives, it's a good time to try implementing whatever changes might bring about what we're both seeking.

What will winter time bring? Will we want to stay with the two meals a day? I don't know yet. But if we both remain open about what's working and what's not, it will only get better from here.


Jennifer Jo said...

No snacks between brunch and supper? That's a long time...

Claire said...

Congrats on the changes! That does sound easier and more efficient. I never really thought about the fact that a homemaker doesn't get to retire; I guess these changes are the next best thing.

Sue said...

After hubby retired, I stopped cooking supper-We have a nice breakfast, and a Main Meal around 1-the whole spiel-meat, potatoes. For supper, well, you're on your own. Don't laugh-it's usually P&B sandwiches!

Mama Pea said...

Mama JJ - Liquid snacks. Around 3:30 Roy will usually have a cup of coffee and I'll drink a glass of iced tea or kombucha . . . but that's all.

Mama Pea said...

Claire - Roy has taken on some of the daily chores I always did when he was working full time: bringing in wood, going to recycling, helping with garden harvesting, running to town on errands, etc. All that is giving me some freed (is that a word?)up time, too. And I appreciate it!

Mama Pea said...

Hi, Sue - You two are doing it the healthiest way! We really should all have our biggest meal at mid-day and then eat much lighter in the evening. Hmmm . . . maybe that should be our winter time meal schedule. Thanks for the reminder!

P.S. I love PB & J sandwiches.

Chicken Mama said...

Ha! No more giving me a hard time for not eating an early breakfast, thank you very much!


Chicken Mama said...

P.S. My word verification for that post was 'unthip'.

"Will thomeone pleath unthip my thacket thipper? My thongue's thtuck in it."

RuthieJ said...

Good for you both! The 2-meal-a-day plan is the one we usually follow on the weekends and if we ever retire, I'm sure it will be implemented full-time too. Glad to hear it's helped you lose some extra pounds too.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I've lost some 30 or more pounds. Ya know, cuz after 40...the metabolism pretty much comes to a screaming halt. However, I, like most people, kept eating as though I were still 20ish.

The key to successful, sustained, reasonable, weight loss for me was NOT when I ate or even how much, so said my Mayo Clinic nutritionist. Weight gain and loss is all about one simple thing: calories in versus calories burned.

The key, for me, being one to prefer the carbs, is to ensure that I am eating enough protein. Why? Because our bodies burn up carbs quickly...any extra carb energy is converted and stored in our bodies (read, fat). But, the quick burning and converting of carbs leaves us feeling hungry pretty quickly.

Some people, like me, even feel hypoglycemic after the carbs are used up. That's where a balanced diet comes in---our bodies burn protein much, much, much slower so we feel full longer.

When I was a tubby, believe it or not, my diet was actually VERY healthy. Fruits, veggies, whole wheat, low sugar etc. etc. The problem was the HUGE amount of carbs that I was consuming (night time whole-wheat, low-fat, high-fiber cereal snacks).

By learning to eat a good balance of carbs and proteins, I've lost more than 30 pounds and keep it off without feeling somehow starved or cheated. I exercise regularly, too.

The thing is to balance the diet. If, like me, you feel hungry between meals, eat several smaller meals throughout the day.

I can say this, for me, seeing a nutritionist was THE best thing I ever did for my health (well, quitting smoking was probably good too;-)) The nutritionist asked me how much I wanted to weigh, how much I exercised and then calculated the number of calories I needed in order to reach and maintain my weight based upon my activity level.

Once my caloric requirements were figured out, she helped me determine the best mix of carbs and proteins (number of servings of each and what type of food options I had) in order to achieve my goals.

I went from about 215 pounds down to 178 and have been at this weight, without cravings or hunger, for more than two years (for a few weeks, until my body adjusted, I did feel hungry between meals, but it went away).

Whatever you and Roy do and however you do it, I hope it works for you two! Just remember, it isn't how often we eat, but rather how many calories are taken in and how many are burned up.

As for when we eat bigger meals or smaller meals...the nutritionist said it didn't matter (I asked her...I like a snack before bed) and she said it doesn't matter. Our metabolism slows a little at night, but, again, it is all about calories in versus calories burned.

If a person burns 3000 calories during the day and requires 2,500 to maintin their body weight---eating 500 calories before bed will result in zero weight gain...3,000 out, 3,000 in.

Mama Pea said...

Chicken Mama - But when I get on you for your eating habits it's because you often go all day without eating until you feel really yucky and think you're gonna die!

Mama Pea said...

Hi, Ruthie - It really is much easier to juggle and rearrange eating schedules when you're both home, isn't it? Well, at least you and Mr. J can do it on weekends now.

Mama Pea said...

Anonymous - Wow, congrats on losing 30+ pounds . . . and keeping it off for so long! I think that means you've made a lifestyle change which is necessary to stay healthy . . . and not fall back into old habits.

Anonymous said... still loves ice cream;-)

Mama Pea said...

Anonymous - You and me both! (I could also live on potato chips . . . which is way worse than ice cream!)