Managing my weight and playing an active role in living a healthy life has been a huge priority for me for a long time. So I’m really familiar with a lot of different diet plans and ideas, and have looked up any number of recipes – but they never work for me. They never work because of one simple little thing that no one ever seems to think about:
No one includes milk in their daily meal plans.
I’m a huge milk drinker. Huge. And I don’t mean I pour it in my coffee or on my cereal (not a huge fan of either of those things, actually) – I mean a big glass of milk is my breakfast, and dinner just isn’t right without milk to go with it. I only refrain from drinking it the rest of the day because if I don’t, I’ll weigh 300 pounds in no time flat.
The one exception to the “no meal plan accounts for milk” complaint was years ago when there was the “milk your diet” campaign, which quickly earned a bad rep. Why? The idea was that people would drink a small glass of milk before their meal so that they would feel more full, eat less, and consume fewer calories overall. But instead, people were adding it to what they were already eating and expecting to lose weight. What they didn’t realize is that milk is food, and it needed to be counted as part of their regular food intake. Sure, it’s a beverage, but that just makes it liquid food. It fills you up.
So it failed as a campaign to get people to drink more milk. And, well, people dropped it, leaving milk drinkers like me looking around going, Hey, wait a minute…
But I digress.
It makes for an interesting challenge for me because I have to be creative and selective about what I cut back on or give up so that I can have my milk for breakfast and to top off my dinner. If I wasn’t making an allowance for the calories I consume because of milk – if I could give it up – I could stick to 1200-1400 calories a day, easy. And no, alternatives to milk are not an option. I’m not a snob about many things, but I’m definitely a milk snob, and there’s just no substitute for the real thing.
The point of this mini rant is that a healthy lifestyle is about choices. I choose to not cut milk out of my diet, and therefore I have to also choose healthier, leaner food options to keep my weight in check. Sometimes I’m better at this than other times, depending on what’s going on in my life. But I firmly believe that living healthy isn’t possible if you deprive yourself of the things you love – you need moderation. I’ve given up milk before, and what happened? I eventually broke down and binged (and it wasn’t just a day…). And now I know. I have to create my own meal plans instead of relying on even tried and true options, because I have to make it work for me.
Bring on the milk!