30 By 30: A Microwave Diet

microwave-foodThere’s a not so secret secret to my previous weight loss success that I actually keep trying to avoid. Several years ago, when I started getting serious about shedding some pounds, I joined Jenny Craig. I immediately thrived on the structure and the simplicity of the program and while I still worked my ass off at the gym, the pounds started to come off. After I lost 40, I decided I want to keep going “on my own.” And I did. I lost the additional 20 through portion control, healthy eating and more hard work at the gym.

Despite my success on the program, I’ve always carried this subconscious connotation to Jenny Craig that it’s cheating or that it’s not a real diet because they are providing the food for you. I’ve told myself numerous things over the past few years to keep me from going back to Jenny Craig, and they have all worked. For whatever reason, I’ve felt that I’m not doing it myself if I am eating Jenny Craig meals. Which is LUDICROUS. No one else is eating the meals but me. Who’s to say that me making dinner is better than me microwaving one (Well, everyone, but I mean in the context of my dieting journey)?

So after six months of talking a lot about losing weight and not actually losing any, and after the two weeks away that I talked about last week, I walked my butt into Jenny Craig on Saturday morning and said “Sign me up. AGAIN.”

The thing is, it’s actually an amazing program and most importantly, I know it works for me. I tried Weight Watchers and then they closed my center. I wasn’t great at counting points and I’m definitely not great at choosing my diet. So, since my goal is to be completely transparent, I wanted to share with you guys that from now until December, I’ll be doing the Jenny Craig program. I’m hopeful and excited, and here’s why:

First of all, I get to meet with a nutrition counselor every week who goes over my diet and exercise, my struggles and goals. It holds me accountable to someone other than myself. There is nothing I hate more than explaining to someone else how much I overate or how little I worked out. Plus it’s a nice check to see what habits need to be broken and what ones are normal.

Secondly, while the meals aren’t always AMAZING, they are portion appropriate and varied enough that I don’t get sick of them. I’ve only been back on the program since Saturday and I can already tell that my stomach is adjusting to the portion sizes. I split a salad and a veggie plate at dinner with a friend tonight and was stuffed before we even got close to finishing. I need some restriction to help reign in some of my new habits.

Thirdly, I know it works for me. And to me, give or take anything else, that’s what matters. It’s a program that I can stick with, that I successfully transitioned out of previously and one that works with my schedule. I’m on the road a lot. I now have this random commute to deal with as opposed to the flexibility of the city. And I see results. This morning, I stepped on the scale and was already down 3 pounds. Winner winner. Would I love to make fresh homemade breakfasts and dinners every day and night filled with organic, seasonal produce? Of course. Is that realistic for me at this stage? Not at all.

You can judge me for eating processed foods. You can eat them along with me. Either way, I encourage you to stop letting the voices in your head (or on the internet) keep you from succeeding. Find what works for you and stick with it. Period.

Weekly Totals -3 lbs = Total – 1 lb

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    • pacgiunta

      I love this! Diet-shaming people is way too common (my own doctor tried to talk me out of being vegan even after it helped me lose 50 pounds). Healthy eating is definitely not a one-size-fits-all thing, and I feel like finding the approach that works best for you is the most important part, even if the internet/real people try to judge you for whatever path you’ve chosen.

      • MMiller

        I do agree with this to an extent. People should do what works for them and what makes them happy. And there is a different path for every person. However, there comes a point in your life when you need to learn how your body functions and how to fuel it. Frozen processed meals don’t provide this learning experience. It’s not “cheating” per se; it’s rather not giving yourself an opportunity to decide how to nourish yourself properly. And proper nourishment is the key to a healthy lifestyle from age 30 to 100.

      • http://pacgiunta.wordpress.com/ pacgiunta

        True, I definitely agree with that! It wouldn’t be a healthy thing to do for a lifetime, but as the first phase of a transition into healthier eating it definitely serves a purpose. At least for me anyway, super structured programs like that helped me get my portion control and appetite in check before letting myself be in full control of my food.

    • Eileen

      I’ve never thought that Jenny Craig was “cheating” on the part of the dieter (although a part of me always wondered how a company could make money selling people portion control – I didn’t know there were nutritionists involved) and certainly wouldn’t look down on anyone for it, although it’s good that you have an eye on transitioning out, just because it is nice to be able to eat your own food sometimes.

    • MMilller

      I do agree that different things work for different people, and there is no “one diet fits all.” However, healthy eating is not a “diet”; it is a lifestyle choice. And a huge part of that lifestyle choice is LEARNING how to eat: learning what foods to choose, learning what foods give you energy and which ones don’t, learning what portions work for you, and making decisions for yourself, based on your body and your needs. I do agree with Jenny Craig and those programs, but after a while you have to start making your own decisions about what goes into your body. And it’s not realistic to say no every time a friend asks you to go out to dinner or attend a party. Best of luck in your efforts!