Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What "Healthy eating" means to me.

We've all heard about diets, and that you should do this or that to lose weight. Atkins does this, South Beach does that, Paleo does something else, blah, blah, blah. What the most important thing is something that each of these have to offer, but none of them will EVER tell you - None of them apply to everybody. None.

"Healthy eating" is different for everybody. I'm not a scientist. I'm not a nutritionist. I'm a human being, and I eat food. I need nutrients. Healthy eating is eating the foods that make you feel your best (Not necessarily that make your taste buds feel the best). This will be different for everybody, which is why some people are lactose intolerant and others are not, some can't handle fish or nuts, others can survive on a steady diet of bacon and french fries. Fish and vegetables do it for me. I haven't gotten sick, even with a cold since I started this diet, knock on wood, I'll wake up tomorrow with the worst flu I've ever gotten for blabbing my tongue here. (EDIT: Nov. 2, I took off of work, sick...)

The point is, you have to know what makes you feel great. Try diets, try limiting your intake of this or that and exacerbating your intake of other things. See what makes you feel better. You'll know when you're eating better as rising from bed will be a joy rather than a chore. I wake up at 5:30AM, jump out of bed and work out. Why? Not because it makes me healthy, but because I feel great enough to do that. Now, I'm not going to try and convince people they should eat a certain way, beyond this single tip: Eat whole foods. In other words, don't eat processed garbage (often, that is. I still eat Oreo's and chips).

Other than that, eat what you enjoy and what makes you feel good. Take thoughtful consideration into how you feel after you eat something. How do you feel through the day? How do you feel through the week? Don't be afraid to eat junk once in a while. I love dark chocolate, ice cream, frozen berries with whipped cream, brownies, cookies, cake, and beer. Do I stop any of these? Not at all, but I don't eat them every day. I also keep track of my calories, so that I know whether I can cheat or not.

At the end of the day, what's going to keep you motivated is not a diet with regulations that you would never normally follow. What will keep you motivated is finding healthy foods that you love and consuming them and eating so that you're no longer hungry, rather than eating until you're full. "Healthy eating" is overrated in the sense that there's no magic formula for it. Your body will tell you what you should and shouldn't be eating.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Meals: My Perfect Breakfast

When I think of the most important meal of the day, I'm going to jump on the bandwagon and advocate that you don't EVER start a day without breakfast. It's not even a bandwagon, honestly. It truly helps you get going and have energy throughout the day. That said, what should go into a breakfast?

I believe a solid breakfast starts with a good amount of rich carbohydrates and protein. Some takes on it involve pancakes and sausage or things like that. For us, non meat-eaters, we'll do yogurts, eggs, and even tofu for breakfast.

Every day, my breakfast looks something like this:
I wake up at 5:30 and typically am done eating by 6. Before I eat, I do a 4-minute Tabata Session and then I drink 16oz of ice cold water, which gets your metabolism to wake up, and start "cooking" breakfast.

  • 1 mug (12oz.) coffee
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned or steel cut oats (NOT quick oats or instant)
  • 1/4 cup berries
  • 1/4 cup miller's bran or 2tbsp wheat germ.
  • 1/2 banana sliced
  • 6oz container of plain Greek yogurt (NOT vanilla)

Nutrition Information (Approximates)
  • Measures: 1/2c Oats, 6oz Chobani Plain Greek, 1/4c Shiloh Farms Organic Unprocessed Coarse Bran, 1/4c Frozen Blueberries, 1/2 banana, 12 oz. coffee.
  • Calories: 352
  • Fat: 3.7g
  • Cholesterol: 0
  • Sodium: 92mg
  • Carbohydrates: 63g
  • Fiber: 12.3g
  • Protein: 26.75g
  • Sugar: 17.8g

This runs you a decent balance of carbs, protein, natural sugars, and fiber - good enough that I'm not hungry again for several hours and it provides me with a good amount of nutrients to start my day.

Some good links about breakfast:

Some alternatives to this breakfast I've done:
  • Other types of fruit, dry or fresh
  • Honey instead of bananas
  • Peanut butter
  • Walnuts or almonds instead of bran or wheat germ
  • Egg whites instead of yogurt - then I wont add fruit
  • Cocoa powder. :-)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Memoir: Why did I decide to lose?

I woke up one morning in November of 2011 and realized I needed a change. I had just exited an unhealthy relationship, was heavier than I ever was at 227 lbs, couldn't move, and didn't feel comfortable in my own skin. The holidays were coming up, and I figured I'm going to indulge one last time, and I did. I recall eating two turkey legs, 4 pieces of ham, and a large bowl of potatoes for Thanksgiving, plus desserts.

I decided to go for a New Year Resolution - something that I never followed through with. I wanted to lose 27 lbs, and be at an even 200. It was a small goal and I used the months of November and December to figure out what the best way to do it is. I found a common piece of advice that wouldn't pose a huge sacrifice for me: Instead of drinking soda and juice, drink water - and drink 6-10 8oz. glasses of it per day. That's 3-5 bottles of water, or 1.5-2.5 fills of the water bottle I so religiously carry with me almost anywhere I am. I ended up averaging at 2 fills per day, one in the morning and one in the evening.

I mentioned the unhealthy relationship I was in, and one thing that I had began doing again in that relationship was eating meat, as my partner ate meat and encouraged me to do so. This was another sacrifice I made. I don't recall having enjoyed the taste of meat, or the feeling it left me with after eating it. That said, I am not a vegan as I still eat yogurt and eggs, nor am I a vegetarian as I still eat fish - I actually ate at a sushi buffet on Sunday night.

I had then set up target weights. I was thinking that 27 lbs was doable within a year, and I had set the goal of 40 lbs for a lifetime. I started with my "last indulging meal" before embarking on this quest at a Dunkin Donuts, where I ate two bagels with egg and cheese, a large latte, and a Boston Creme donut. I did this with the idea that I would do it, or something similar again at the 27 lb mark. I finished the rest of the day with water, and had a salad with balsamic vinegar (NOT vinaigrette) for dinner.

In January, my phone had broken, and with it I lost the last picture I took of myself before I started this. The only pictures I have are from last August and September.

I might be smiling here, but I wasn't happy. I was still in a bad relationship, I was obese... I couldn't even tell you what my life was like at this stage. I don't even think I was aware of it.

Today, is a different me.

Today, is a healthy me.

If this is of your interest at all, please follow this blog and I'll have posted up how in under 10 months (the following image was taken in September), I went from that to this:

I will always keep these pants as a reminder. They were once tight on me. I've lost 76 lbs in 10 months.