If you follow Calories In Calories Out (CICO), then you can pretty much eat whatever you want. However, when I first began I did not even download my calorie counter for the first 8 weeks, let alone know how to really use it. But, there were some very easy “no” foods and “yes” foods that helped me with the first 34 pounds in my journey. I found these rules kept me full most of the time and helped keep the cravings down.
- Veggies: Yes
- Fruits: No – high sugar content and brings back sugar/sweets cravings
- Cheese: Very little – more as an accent flavor (watch calories)
- Avacado: Yes! (watch calories)
- Eggs: Yes – watch the yolks/cholesterol. 2 eggs whites + 1 full egg is a good mixture.
- Meat/Protein: Yes
- Sweets/Treats: No
- Bread/Tortillas: No
- Dressings/Sauces: No – maybe an oil based dressing. Otherwise, no. BBQ sauce tends to even contain a lot of sugar.
- Alcohol: No – alcohol contains many calories, general rule of thumb if you’re not using a calorie counter. And, it tends to lower inhibitions, which make it much easier to slip up on the above rules.
- Caffeine: (??). I didn’t have any caffeine until 21 weeks into my journey. Caffeine (can) cause spikes and make cravings return.
- Only drink water, protein drinks or (low sodium) V-8. This is really a rule for me. For me, I can see any other drink(s) becoming a “gateway” drink, so I just stick to water.
Above are some general guidelines I used. However, I would also add, don’t look at meals or food in “conventional” ways either. Using your new menu, you will have to get creative on new things to eat. There are many times now that 3 pieces of hard salami is dinner. Or, 4 ounces of ham may be dinner. Brisket for dinner – HECK YEAH! (no bbq sauce though).
To sum it up: “No” carb, “No” sugar. Eat less than your daily maintenance calories (see next step below).
An example of a staple breakfast for me was: Fresh grilled spinach, with salsa, and 2 eggs. Sometimes I would scramble it all up in the same hot pan. Sometimes, I’d eat the spinach and salsa as a salad, along with the eggs cooked/boiled. Other times I would prepare it all omelet style.
An example of a staple lunch for me was: A (small) chef salad from HEB with either salsa or lemon juice as my dressing. This really was the main lunch I had for the first 8 weeks. Sometimes I would have my above breakfast for lunch, or I would bring dinner leftovers for lunch. But mostly… salad.
Dinner: usually consisted of a protein of sorts (chicken, fish, beef…) and a couple of veggie sides.
Snacks: To be honest, I just didn’t snack. Before I started using CICO, I had no idea how much I was eating, so I simply wouldn’t snack. I drank water… lots and lots of water.