So yesterday Swistle was asking about weight loss ideas that involved only small, painless changes to one's day (as opposed to a drastic overhaul of your entire pantry leading to the eventual loss of the will to live due to chocolate withdrawal.) At the time I had no ideas to contribute, but as I was making Adelay's lunch today, I realized one very simple principle I have always lived by which, while not exactly sculpting my abs and toning my rear, and most definitely not contributing to my overall health, has managed to keep my weight somewhat under control.
It is this: (bracing self for rotten vegetable throwing and outcries of horror) Whenever possible, I eat dessert first. I know I'm going to want it eventually, and I know I'm not going to be able to consume the calories of a full meal AND a giant piece of cake without gaining weight, so I just eat the cake first and then however much of the regular meal I want until I'm full.
I know, I know. It's appalling. So while I'm horrifying you, I'll share my second, corresponding rule of thumb: If planning to eat dessert, lessen portions of the rest of the meal accordingly. Even at Thanksgiving, when I had to follow the standard courses of the meal and couldn't dig into the pie immediately, I ate tiny portions of the regular stuff to compensate for eating as much dessert as I wanted.
I realize this probably breaks every health rule in the book, and what I should actually be doing is cutting OUT dessert in order to make room for MORE veggies and lean proteins and blah blah blahs, but the fact is, skipping the sweet stuff makes me feel woeful and deprived. I also realize that all that sugar contributes to sugar crashes and I would probably feel much more energetic if I ate complex sugars instead of the white, refined stuff that I crave like crack.
But there you have it. That is what works for me (well, if your definition of "working" involves love handles and a number on the scale stuck stubbornly about fifteen pounds higher than this time last year. But I AM out of my maternity pants at long last.)
Oh, and to make up for the aforementioned crashes, I've been making half decaf, half regular coffee and drinking it all day long. Eli is finally tolerating moderate amounts of caffeine, which I discovered accidentally after drinking a soda at a hockey game, remembering in horror that it had caffeine, and then realizing a day later that there had been no tearful, inconsolable episodes as a result!