I am a little embarrassed to admit that although I have been eating the Trim Healthy Mama way (for the most part) for almost 3 years now, I hadn’t even done a fuel cycle. But… I have been pregnant or nursing for most of that time. I was stalled at my weight loss and felt like it was really time to give it a try. At the same time I am working on an eat from the freezer/pantry challenge and grocery shopping as little as possible. Did I mention that I was so busy that I did not have time to meal plan? I mean, nothing. The only planning I did was a mental inventory of what I had and what I needed to eat the next day.
After my first week, I was inspired. I lost 6 pound and felt like I was really getting in to the groove of knowing what I could eat and being okay with it. (The hardest part, without doubt, was almost eliminating cheese! I love cheese!) I felt like I needed to do at least a little bit of planning to be able to continue or do it again, though. I still didn’t want to grocery shop much, so I came up with a printable to help me formulate meal ideas. (You can print your own Fuel Cycle Inventory List here.)For the next cycle, even though I didn’t have a lot of time for planning, just being able to look at my food list helped me be able to plan my meals.
A couple of things I did while in my fuel cycle to get out of my weight loss slump were:
- Eat supper earlier. Our meals had gotten progressively later. Supper was at 7:30 or so. I was going to bed still feeling like I had just eaten. I knew this probably wasn’t the best plan, so we started eating between 5:00 and 5:30.
- Drink more. I make my GGMS in 1/2 gallon jars, 2 at a time. This lasts me about 3 days. Often times when I think I want something to eat, I really just need a drink!
- Be careful about time between meals. Don’t be sloppy about how far apart you eat. Eating too often isn’t a good thing, but neither is waiting too long to eat! If I wait too long and get ‘hangry”, I am much more prone to compromise my eating plan than if I ate before I felt like I was going to go crazy! Lol!
- Start with a veggie base. As I began my fuel cycle, part of my challenge to myself was to eat as many vegetables as I could. Make it interesting! We had a few things still left in our garden, so the kids would go out and collect whatever they could find each day. Usually it was just enough to add to our supper.
- Don’t limit yourself to recipes. I can usually come up with a meal by throwing whatever meat I have in the skillet and adding veggies to it. I do the same for breakfast with eggs – whole eggs for S meals or whites for FP and E meals.
(The picture above is a meal I made from leftovers and veggies the kids found in the garden. I use leftover grilled chicken from Briana’s cookbook, shredded cabbage, an onion, a tomato, a zucchini, garlic, salt and pepper.)
- In place of cheese, use nutritional yeast. The more I eat this stuff, the more I love it! It adds lots of flavor without the fat. I sprinkle it on my veggies and skip both butter and cheese!
- Cabbage, a quick and easy staple. This was one of the things I did buy. I love cabbage because we eat it cold (coleslaw), hot (sautéed in my cast iron skillet sprayed with just enough olive oil to prevent sticking) and thrown in to casseroles or soups!
Have you done a fuel cycle before? I would love to hear how it went for you! Check out some other great fuel cycle ideas from Oh Sweet Mercy here!