Last night was the season finale of my all-time favorite show – The Biggest Loser. While I don’t necessarily buy into all the product placement nonsense they throw my way (sugar-free gum is not dessert), I do try to pay attention to the advice and practices of their super awesome trainers, Bob and Jillian. And clearly I love the transformations and the drama.
Over a year ago, I set out on a mission to be more healthy. I was tired of trying to tuck my muffin top into my jeans and stuffing myself into clothes that I didn’t want to admit I’d grown out of. Mind you, I have never been a big person, but I was definitely pushing the limits, and no longer happy with how I looked.
Fast forward to today – I’ve run two marathons, I drag myself to the gym (at 5am!) three days a week for weight lifting with trainer Casey, and I still run regularly. I’ve also joined the Calorie King online program so that I can track what I eat and learn to balance my diet. I try not to be obsessive, but I’m careful, and I’m still focused on reaching my target weight.
My original goal was to simply lose weight, but it’s ended up being a gradual lifestyle overhaul. I realized I had been eating a lot of empty calories and junk for way too long, and I feel much healthier and have more energy now than ever before. I’ve also recently cut out alcohol (gasp!) from my life, so it will be interesting to see if that has any affect. From my heaviest point (post-college and working at an ice cream shop), I’m down about 30 pounds. Not bad.
In the spirit of The Biggest Loser, and during the season of calorie-fests and holiday indulgences, I’m sharing with you some of my favorite new (and a few old) low-calorie options that I use daily:
Diet Pomegranate 7-up: a new twist on an old favorite. This stuff is delicious. But a warning – the box says “limited time only” and I am terrified that this is a holiday treat that will ripped away from me just as my addiction has reached it’s full strength.
Ocean Spray Diet Juice: only five calories per 80z. serving! I know no one actually drinks 8oz, but even if I fill my Impressions Glass to the top, it’s still a measly ten calories, and anyone can afford that. No, it does not taste exactly like regular juice, but it’s still very good, and it’s nice to have a diet soda substitute. Watch out for the tricky impostor Ocean Spray Light – 40 calories per 8oz – ouch!
Jello Sugar Free Pudding Cups: only 60 calories per cup, and sent from heaven. I don’t even notice a taste difference. I recently discovered that Kroger carries many flavor varieties in the sugar-free: choc/vanilla swirl, dulce de leche, double chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate mint (my favorite!), and more. I eat these when I’m craving something out of the candy jar at work. That “100-calorie-pack” option is child’s play. Sixty-cal-sugar-free is where it’s at.
Dannon Plain Nonfat Yogurt: For whatever reason, I really like plain yogurt. But if you don’t, this tastes nice and sweet mixed with a few spoonfuls of Splenda, and it’s only 110 calories for a full cup. I tend to struggle with portion control – I like to eat a lot. I buy the big 32oz. tubs of this, and love that I can eat half of an entire tub for only 220 calories. Mixed with grapes, I eat this almost every day for lunch. Kroger also has great “lite” strawberry and peach versions in the big tubs for 100 calories per cup. In the words of Rachel Ray, deeeelish!
There you have it. A few of my daily staples (at least until the 7-up abandons me). When marathon training resumes, I’ll share some more favorites. Until then, season’s eatings!