Being Good to Be Bad
One of my most successful lifelong philosophies for maintaining weight (my real goal is to stay in my current jeans size) is Being Good to Be Bad. It allows me to stabilize my eating habits so I don’t feel deprived, and allows me to eat almost everything I desire, even if not as often as I’d like, and always taking quantity into consideration. Mostly Being Good to Be Bad means eating healthy during the week so I can splurge a little on the weekend.
This philosophy is beneficial for every situation: approaching the holiday season, your birthday, spring vacation, summertime partying, or autumn football season. Being Good to Be Bad is a key year-round tactic to eat, drink, and look good.
Being Good to Be Bad means you amp up healthier eating choices and cut back on a the splurges. Notice that I didn’t say give up all splurges. The philosophy starts by breaking down your weekly schedule.
You choose to Be Good on Monday through Wednesday or Thursday, depending on your social calendar. This way, you can enjoy weekend meals, whether dining in or out, and make smart choices without being too rigid.
This is an ideal strategy if your goal is to maintain your weight. If you’re trying to lose five pounds or more you’ll have to be a little more good (while still eating, drinking, and being merry.)
The most important principle in The Marshal Plan is ya gotta live. Eating is an important part of living. You’re learning to choose food wisely to support your good health intentions.
So what does the ideal world look like?
In an ideal world, you always choose lean protein: grilled, baked, or poached (yeah, poached is really being good) seafood, white meat poultry or pork, steak, or tofu. Sautéing lean protein adds flavor and is another good option. You’ll learn more about specific lean protein in the coming chapters.
When you look at your plate, 30% should be lean protein and the remaining 70% as many green vegetables as you want with your meals. Your veggies can be cooked tasty as well. If you want to Be really Good, you can eat them raw or steamed, but that isn’t very satisfying and doesn't last long. Try it one or two nights a week. Again, you’ll learn more about types of green veggies so you can mix it up, as we know variety is the spice of life.
Throughout this book we will talk about ways to diversify your choices in all the categories. Keep that in mind, because diversity makes maintaining healthy choices easier, and becomes a way of life. You are actually training your tastebuds.
Now, when I say green veggies, I mean green veggies for as many meals and snacks as you choose. Choose water-based vegetables instead of starchy vegetables. Colored peppers, mushrooms, and jicama are included among the more common green veggie mix.
Cut out all white processed carbs and keep whole-grain carbs to a minimum. Include small portions of less than half a cup of complex carbs in only one or two meals a day. Whole grains like quinoa, barley, brown rice, millet, spelt, or kamut are good choices to try. Don’t be afraid of these less-than-familiar, nutrient-dense grains. They are available in easy to prepare packages just like nutrient-empty, wasted-calorie white rice. It’s easy to experiment with different varieties of grains at the prepared food section at stores such as Whole Foods. Then you can try your own recipes if you're so inclined.
When limiting carbohydrates it's really, really, really important to remember that vegetables are carbohydrates, so you’re not depriving yourself of this food group. I don’t understand why this concept isn’t more common knowledge in our society. It makes a huge difference in your success in losing or maintaining weight.
Fresh fruit is good too. Fresh fruit in the morning as it is easy to digest. Again, diversifying your fruit choices is really important because you get different vitamins from different fruits and veggies as well. You wouldn't want to eat as many fruits and veggies as needed to get your daily requirements, but mixing up your intake doesn't hurt.
Fruit is also a great snack, especially as a replacement for sweets like cookies, cakes, or candy. Having a sweet craving? Pop a handful of blueberries, or try a tangerine or clementine. Bananas and apples travel well. Stay away from or severely limit dried fruits. Craving something sweet after dinner? Try a raspberry herbal tea. Yes, that's Being really Good, but snacking should be eliminated after dinner. Herbal tea should be the only thing you consume after dinner when you’re Being Good.
Being really Good? Eliminate or reduce dairy to just one or two days per week. That means limiting low fat milk, cottage cheese, and yogurt, in addition to the regular-fat cheese you've already eliminated because regular-fat dairy isn’t part of Being Good. Ice cream is a splurge, yet some frozen yogurts are a good substitute occasionally. Later on you’ll learn to read labels to determine which frozen yogurts are better choices.
Choose healthy snacks so you're never starving. Learn to like low-sodium V8. I say “learn to like” because it’s not my personal favorite thing, but it's nutrient-dense and filling, so stock the fridge. I like to down one before going out to dinner on weekends because then I stay away from the bread basket. And that reminds me: it's okay to just say “no” when the bread basket arrives at the table – especially when you're being good.
Now is the perfect time to point out that this is not a life sentence. It's temporary. And, we’re just Being Good on Monday through Wednesday or Thursday.
Dry nights, a.k.a. no alcohol, is best while Being Good, especially at home. If you can have just one, go for it, but in my circle, we rarely just have one. Alcohol is empty calories, but 100 calories of clear liquids won't destroy the entire plan. However, beware: a little buzz can lead to overeating, whether healthy foods or splurging, and overeating defeats the purpose you’re saving up for – Being Good to Be Bad.
Of course, endless glasses of water throughout the day are essential.
It works, but there’s no magic. Ya gotta Be Good to Be Bad, otherwise you have an even tougher challenge when you come home and realize your weight gain has gone too far.
Being Good to Be Bad also holds true if you want to stair-step your weight down before the holiday season kicks in so you can enjoy social gatherings more and still maintain some sort of balance during the holiday season. The goal is to Be Good whenever you can so you don’t lose it, going to hell in a hand-basket and waking up miserable on January First with an unpleasantly huge goal to tackle.
Deprivation is not part of a healthy lifestyle. If you tell yourself you can never have a piece of cake, cheese, pizza, margaritas - whatever whets your whistle - you’ll be unhappy and more likely to over-indulge. And we know over-indulgence leads to tight pants, and that’s not fun.
It's a lifestyle change, not a diet. It takes mindful practice as in developing any skill. Like my dear friend Sarah said, “You can do it, if you really want to.” That was a catalyst that lead me to lose over 12 pounds over the course of three years, and start writing this book again.