Have you ever pulled out the new season's wardrobe and found everything fitting just a wee bit tight? .......... That was me about a month ago. It made me mad. I'd eaten a little too much comfort food over the long winter and indulged my sweet tooth too many times. I could "suck in" and close the zippers, buttons etc. but nothing felt very comfortable. Like I said, it made me mad, because I was not about to buy a whole new wardrobe or spend the whole season feeling like ten pounds of taters squeezed into a five pound sack! My husband, Scott was in the same boat; he's not only my wonderful photographer, but the CEO of taste-testing here at The Café (and that can mean trouble for the old waistline).
It was time to devise a plan. I know myself pretty well, and have learned over the years that I'm just not real great at dieting, counting calories and measuring each bite I take. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with that and I admire people with the strong will power to accomplish it; but I'm just not that disciplined, and I know it. So I came up with another plan, and have been implementing it for a month now. It's definitely working; my summer wardrobe is feeling noticeably looser and much more comfortable, and so is Scott's. In fact, he told me yesterday that he was down a few notches on his belt buckle.Yeah!
What did I do? Just used common sense for the most part. I made the decision to make smaller portions for us at each meal. Leaner and lighter eating, with lots of grilled chicken, fish, pork, etc., accompanied by a fresh salad or some yummy grilled veggies. Occasional, small servings of bread, potatoes, pasta, etc. Minimal desserts - of course as a full service food blogger and baking lover, I still make sweet treats but, for the most part limit myself to a few bites, a small piece or sometimes just a taste.
We also bumped up our exercise a bit, making sure to get out on early morning walks, spend more time working out and taking long bike rides through nearby quiet neighborhoods.
Like I said, all these things are just common sense and definitely help in the weight loss battle, but there's one other little secret I employed that's really helped us; protein smoothies. Protein smoothies? Yes, it's a well know fact that protein not only gives you lots of energy, but it helps ward off hunger pangs.
I've found that if my stomach's not rumbling with hunger, it's much easier to resist all those temptations to snack and/or overindulge. I decided to substitute a low calorie smoothie for one of our meals each day. Most days we sip on it for breakfast, but sometimes we'll have our protein smoothie for lunch instead and enjoy eggs and toast or yogurt, fresh fruit and granola for breakfast.
I did a lot of testing and tinkering to come up with the best tasting, lowest calorie smoothie with the highest amount of protein. I'm not really crazy about protein powder and wanted to keep my drink as natural as possible. After a few trial and errors, I think I've come up with a winner. I found that the best source of lean protein is non-fat Greek yogurt. Tofu works as well, but is a bit higher in calories, and not as readily available. I use almond milk for a bit of liquid, as it's low in fat and calories and has lots of great nutritional benefits. Half of a nice ripe banana and a little honey are all we usually need for sweetness, though you could add some Stevia or another sweetener of your choice.
This Strawberry Protein Smoothie makes 2 large servings, each having 18g of protein and 205 calories. We've enjoyed one these protein smoothies just about every day for the last month, and haven't tired of them yet. We've had lots of energy, have been satiated till the next meal and, seeing some of those extra pounds roll off .......... well, let's just say .......... ALLELUIA!!
P. S. Since it's strawberry season, I'm sharing my Strawberry Protein Smoothie, but feel free to substitute any fresh or frozen fruit.
Oh, and one last thing. I have to admit, along with my clothes being snug, another thing motivated me to shed a few of the extra pounds - a trip!! Yup, we're headed to California for a wedding and will be doing a classic California coastal road trip as well. We have a few fun surprises planned for you as well as some great recipes that we tucked into our arsenal before we left. So California; The Café's headed your way!!
- 2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries 100 calories - 2g protein
- 1 ½ cups 0% fat Greek yogurt 195 calories - 34g protein
- ½ medium ripe banana 50 - 0.5g protein
- ½ cup almond milk 20 calories - 0.5g protein
- 2 teaspoons honey 44 calories
- 1 cup crushed ice or 1 ½ cups ice cubes
Combine strawberries, Greek yogurt, banana, almond milk and honey in a blender container. Blend on high till smooth and creamy.
Add ice cubes and blend on high for about one minute.Taste and add a bit of Stevia or sweetener of choice, if needed. Pour into two tall serving glasses and enjoy.