You know how we find something that interests us and become obsessed? We live and breathe it, no doubt annoying everyone with the constant monologuing and social media posts. We have become those people when it comes to what foods go into our daily diet. My Instagram feed is full of photos of our meals, and conveniently, Facebook duplicates them for that feed. Then there’s the commenting on every post that involves food, detailing why they aren’t good for you—making you ponder on whether or not to unfriend us. It’s a risk we take given our fascination with just how many people have it wrong about what’s healthy and how to knock off those extra pounds.
"I’ve tried everything! I can’t lose the weight!”
Honesty, have you really?
"Dieting is too hard. I don’t want to be restricted.”
What about self-restraint on portion sizes?
"I don’t have the time to prepare healthy meals."
Conservatively, you're awake 16 hours in a day, are you sure?
"Healthy foods are too expensive."
Are your medical fees and supplements cheaper?
There are so many more “reasons” people use for not eating better and I have a response to all of them. If you avoid pretty much everything in the middle of the grocery store, you’d really be better off. All you have to do is control your ingredients…or, at least make better choices on those prepared foods.
We rejoice in the fact we feel better and that we’ve lost most of the inches grown over the past few years from all those bad food decisions. All it took was dishing out only the recommended serving sizes when we eat and cutting out as many added sugars as possible. There is a tendency to fill plates with even the healthiest of foods rather than thinking about quality over quantity.
Eating salads and snacking on granola bars isn’t exactly healthy if the salad is laden with dressing and the granola bar has added sugars. Here are two examples of salad dressing and a granola bar. Aside from the sugar added, there is a slew of ingredients most can’t pronounce.
Ranch Dressing: Vegetable Oil, Water, Egg Yolks, Sugar, Salt, Cultured Nonfat Buttermilk, Natural Flavors, Spices, Dried Garlic, Dried Onion, Vinegar, Phosphoric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Modified Food Starch, Monosodium Glutamate, Artificial Flavors, Disodium Phosphate, Sorbic Acid and Calcium Disodium EDTA as Preservatives, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate. Gluten free.
Oats ’n Honey Granola Bar: Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Canola Oil, Rice Flour, Honey, Salt, Brown Sugar Syrup, Baking Soda, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor.
Let’s say you love ranch dressing and want to make it yourself. I’m pretty sure you can pronounce all of these: mayonnaise, sour cream, dried chives, dried parsley, dried dill weed, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper. Try this recipe for ranch dressing.
Need a snack, here’s what’s in the oats ’n honey granola bar you love so much: dates, honey, natural peanut or almond butter, almonds, rolled oats, and dried fruit. It may take a minute, but try using this recipe.
Although honey is considered a sugar, it’s a natural one that offers nutrients and antioxidants. Pure Maple Syrup also falls into that category. Peanut butter containing ONLY peanuts is a good thing. Simply Jiff Peanut Butter has roasted peanuts, fully hydrogenated vegetable oils, mono and diglycerides, molasses, sugar, salt. Again, this is about trying to limit the intake of added sugars that your body doesn’t really know what to do with—and then eventually turns it into fat.
I have no doubt all this is annoying to think about, but you should. And, this isn’t a “look at me and how great I’m doing” thing. It’s about wanting to share what we know to those we care about. The most common food-related things people post about are:
I know our daughter is hating the changes we’ve made as we not only point out all the sugar and unhealthy ingredients in the foods she likes, but we don’t buy most of them anymore. We do get her a few of her favorites things, like Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup to make chocolate milk. However, she has to measure out only a serving size, which is one tablespoon. Her macaroni and cheese is now Annie’s, which has better ingredients than Kraft’s version. We understand she wants the quick and easy meals, not ingredients to make them. However, she also wants a better complexion and more energy to get through her day. The key is involving her in the menu and letting her go through the cookbooks to pick out what she wants to eat. Her school choices are awful and she sent us photos of the healthy foods to show why she won’t bother choosing them. It’s really no wonder kids select pizza, French fries, and hamburgers. And, it’s also no wonder that kids are developing Type II Diabetes and becoming obese. I’ll no doubt have to blog about that, too. In the mean time, I want to make sure she has good choices at home.
I will conclude by saying sorry, not sorry, should you still be reading this post. If just one person gets something from it and attempts to better their diet just a little, I’ve succeeded. Meanwhile, I will relish in the fact I have lost twenty pounds since we started eating actual portion sizes and limiting added sugars. I will embrace having more energy and the feeling better throughout my day. I will be continue to be assertive with our daughter, not giving up on changing her view of healthier foods. I will persevere in my search for new ways to appreciate asparagus.
I will not, however—under any circumstances—find value grapefruit or papaya. They are the fruits of the devil.
I’m on day one of week six with yoga. I ventured into an hour session rather than my thirty-minute one on Monday. My body is quite mad at me still and it hurts to laugh. I’m thinking this is a good thing as I’m honing in on all the right areas I want to work on. I also recognize the names of poses now and can follow without straining my neck to see the television. I’ve started following a beginner’s yoga group, as well as reading Yoga Journal. The group and articles help as they remind me that this is an individual type of exercise and progress is measured only by YOU. I also have the advantage of reaching out to my best friend who is a certified yoga instructor for guidance and reassurance. I’m feeling committed—in a good way.
The “livet” is going well, too. All of the meals I’m preparing are healthy, without any sense of restricting what I’m craving. I’m still only down ten pounds, but I know the inches are coming off by the way things fit. I knew I was saving all those clothes in the back of the closet for a good reason! I’ve been using the MyNetDiary app to keep track of my daily calories and exercise, not to mention my water intake. It’s not an exact science, but it helps put things in perspective these past three weeks. Portion sizes are reduced, however I’m enjoying everything I put together. It does give me a grade on my choices, making me the honor student I strive to be. Some of my choices are C-average, but I disagree with the notion that the turkey meatballs I make are anywhere near average. I got a D on my grass-fed ground beef hamburger—an absolute A in my book. So, the app has flaws (not really)—but, don’t we all.
The large spike in the above diagram is the day we ventured out for meals and went a bit “crazy.” I devoured half of a blackened shrimp wrap and half a burger for lunch. For dinner, we had some pineapple fried rice with a side of Shrimp Pad Thai. Although I got and A and B as grades, my body decided to hang on to the 175-ish grams of carbs I ate. The next spike was also due to going out for lunch. It's a bit challenging counting the calories, unless the restaurant posts them on the menu. I do venture to ask about the nutrition numbers, but always feel like one of those people I normally roll my eyes about.
Today marks the end of our three week kidless staycation (we don’t really count the older one as he’s always at work). Our two teenagers arrive at midnight tonight from Texas and will no doubt sleep most of the day away tomorrow. We didn’t do as much as we would have liked while they were gone—a trip to Jamaica, long-road trips, and beach days—but, it was so very pleasant. There was no anxiety, frustration, or influx of whining—from us or them. The house stayed clean and there was always food in the fridge. I’m sure they will be relieved to be home and we did miss them—mostly. We will consider it a good recharge and hope for the best. The youngest starts high school in twelve days, so we just have to all get along until then.
With eight days of Yoga behind me, I think I have officially started a routine. This includes both exercise and eating healthier. I have always despised dieting as it means to do without—in my mind. I don't mean healthy in the sense of brown rice and no bread. I mean healthy in the sense of fewer calories by measuring (okay yes, sometimes eyeballing) the portions. This also means choosing wisely what I decided to eat.
Although I never thought I’d ever do this, I am going to quote Kanye West. I honestly don’t know if he came up with it—I just heard him say it during an interview with David Letterman. Rather than a diet, I am now on a “livet."
I like the idea of the word as eating healthy and exercise helps you do just that—live. I’m learning that I can keep the calories down and still enjoy the foods I want. I don’t know how it is for you, but conditioning my mind to enjoy what I eat has been easier than I thought. Maybe because I was ready for it, I don’t know. My weakness is Mexican food and it’s pretty much a staple in our home. Quesadillas, tacos, enchiladas—essentially anything that I can wrap a tortilla around. Chips and salsa? Yea, I’m all about that. I did something remarkable the other day. I counted out the exact number of tortilla chips for a serving size to go with a homemade avocado dip. Did I eat just those? No. However, the three extra chips I added were enough and didn’t break me. I am a bottomless pit when it comes to tortilla chips with salsa, guacamole, or queso. I don’t get full. I simply run out of chips. That day, I was satisfied with the portion I served and honestly felt good about myself.
Today’s lunch was Poblano Chicken Quesadillas that teetered on 250 calories. I got the recipe from Cooking Light’s website and made it my own. I eliminated the mushrooms as I am not that trendy. And, I don’t poach chicken—ever! I lightly seasoned the chicken, pan-frying it in a little olive oil. Using one of those handy calorie calculator websites, I got lower than the original recipe’s calorie count. Mostly because I wasn’t cooking for six people and needed far fewer ingredients, including cheese. For those of you who enjoy cooking, you learn what ingredients work together as you hone your culinary skills. You also learn what doesn’t work, like mushrooms in a quesadilla.
My goals are set small now, making success feel more attainable. I’ve become friends with the bathroom scale after many years of bitter fighting. I simply ignored it as the scale never had anything nice to say. Now, I look forward to our morning conversations.
I am a woman-child at heart; continuously evolving to find my place in life. I am a mother, a daughter, and a sister. I am a lover and a dreamer--an explorer and a traveler. But it's my passion for writing that allows me to explore my ingenuity. This is something that undoubtedly carries over to the many roles that make up the ever evolving woman I am.