No, I didn't find magical chips on the shelf at Whole Foods or a great recipe for fat-burning chips, sorry to disappoint you there. But really, eating chips every night did help me lose weight since having my second child last March. A year ago, I was 30 pounds heavier than I am now and I've had chips after dinner almost every night for the past year. After a long day, once the kids are asleep and the house is somewhat in order for the craziness that will ensue in the morning, I relax on the couch and I have a snack as I unwind. Some people crave the chocolate cupcake on the kitchen counter or cookie in the cabinet, but I'm a salty foods kind of girl.
My husband commented once that it's like dinner is an appetizer for my snack about 45 minutes later. He wasn't knocking me, just observing how I might even eat a slightly smaller meal to save room for chips. It's so true. I'll typically cook a healthy meal for my family, one sautéed or roasted veggie, a salad and a serving of protein, usually broiled (the city version of grilling) steak or roasted chicken. I give my kids and husband a starch like sweet potato or quinoa but I'll typically skip that so I can have my snack. I feel good knowing that I can still have a little cheat after the day is done - I realized that this helps me make healthier decisions during the day. If everyone is ordering pizza for lunch at work, I might choose a salad since I know I don't have to make super clean decisions ALL day. If I was out to a restaurant and choosing between two different meals on the menu, I'd choose the clean option because I knew I could have a snack later. Just knowing that chips were in my future made me feel better about my healthy decisions. Between the after dinner snack and my afternoon chai latte from Starbucks, I had two times during the day, every day, to consume something that was deliciously NOT clean.
The night snacking has been a part of my world for years but in the past year it's become something different to me. In the book "The Power of Full Engagement" by Jim Loer and Tony Schwartz, the authors talk about managing energy, not time, as the key to high performance and personal renewal. In their early days studying this theory, the authors studied the habits of world-class tennis players to find out what makes them perform their best and win titles. What they discovered is that what the best players had versus their less successful counterparts, is a distinct ritual between points in a match, that restored their energy both mentally and physically. In the study, the authors actually found that the players with these rituals lowered their heart rates quite significantly during that very short time, restoring more energy than their opponent. Now, I'm not comparing my cheat meal to the habits of a professional athlete but the same theory about energy renewal applies. My snacking at night and my latte in the afternoon were scheduled periods of renewal so that I didn't feel cheated from enjoyment with food and in doing so, my willpower was restored for the dedication I would need for the next day. (Note: I think more freedom should be allowed during maintenance, I'm only referring to pretty dedicated weight loss here).
This topic reminds me why I call my project Be PowerFULL - because I really focus on a woman trying to listen to herself and honor her uniqueness…and the power and self-confidence that's gained from that. Fad diets worked for me at times but I would eventually feel so deprived that I couldn't wait for a binge meal, or two, or three…then, whoops, train off the tracks, and you know the drill...you gain all the weight back! The two restorative meals I gave myself every day were what worked for me to not even feel like I was on a diet…and no book or website was telling me what not to eat and what time at night I definitely shouldn't eat after - or else. I paid attention to what worked for me and it became my new way of living. This consistency of the past year helped me break years and years of an all or nothing approach to eating. Now, when I make an exception for a not so great meal (hello, Papa Gino's pizza last night), I don't wake up and have a bagel (not just because I wouldn't keep them in the house), I get right back to a protein packed breakfast and a great workout and I'm back on track. Win, win.
I'd love to hear from you about how you currently renew your energy to stay on track with your diet. My latte and chip sessions were not only about the taste but about the ritual of doing something for me. Can't wait to hear what you think...