A food addict's travels on the road to recovery.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Back in the Saddle

I've been doing a LOT of thinking since I started my blog yesterday. Been thinking about tips to share with you, how I want the blog to be encouraging, inspiring, informative, cheerful.....but above all, what I want it to be is REAL. That means good days, bad days, cheers, cussing, new recipes, kicking old habits, anything that I can relate to you to let you know I've been there, I'm there now, clawing and scratching to get out of this black hole called obesity, and that there IS hope for the future. I can see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, and each day I make a better choice than the day before, the light gets brighter. Kinda' like sunshine. :)

While there are a ton more changes that I need to make with my eating habits, I have made a few small ones that I'd like to share with you. Nothing mind blowing, but every handful of calories not eaten is a pocket of cellulite not growing on your a$$. I was watching Oprah about 10 years ago and she had yet ANOTHER diet doctor on there (bless her heart...I know she tries...that's one thing I can say for good ol' Oprah....she never stops tryin'!). His whole angle was everything in moderation. Blah, blah....we've all heard it. But what caught my attention is when he said there are only 2 things in the entire food world that you should never, ever eat....everything else in moderation. Two things in the entire world?? Dang, these must be good, I better pay attention. He said those things are white bread.........it has absolutely no nutritional value and white flour is just bad, bad, bad...especially if you're diabetic. And the second thing was partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. In other words, margarine.

Now I have to say, I still eat some white bread. I'm addicted to the Publix bakery breads. Especially those French hamburger rolls....oh my. But I eat it in WAY less quantity than I used to and have incorporated WAY more wheat and whole grain, high fiber breads than I ever thought I would. However, I have not bought another tub of margarine from that day forward. I use real butter, according to him, and I use it sparingly.

I recently switched from 2% milk to 1% and keep getting screamed at by people to go on down to skim milk. I....just.....can't......quite.....make......myself.....do.....that......yet. It still looks like chalky water to me and that just freaks me out. But it is on my list of things to change/improve. If you've already done it.....good for you! You're a better milk drinker than I am.

I got away from the canned vegetables for the most part and started going to the Farmer's Market for fresh fruits and veggies. The nutritional value on fresh produce is just higher than that of something canned, not to mention the canned stuff has more sodium. I still use canned green beans sometimes and the occasional can of corn, but that's about it.

Speaking of the Farmer's Market, I started widening my variety of fruits and veggies that I'll eat and that's for one main reason. If you're trying to eat well and you get too bored with it, you'll fail. Variety plays a HUGE part in keeping things fresh and alive and interesting on your weight loss travels. This goes for variety not only in taste but also in texture. While trying out new things, I've discovered that I prefer crunchy stuff above soft stuff. This has led me to eat a lot more raw veggies than cooked. The benefit of this is that my body is getting more of the enzymes it needs to fight off different diseases and cancers and such than it would with cooked veggies. Cooking veggies kills some of the enzymes we need. Don't get me wrong.....I don't eat all raw veggies....I do like hot cooked meals...but just to give you a little info if you have health concerns, check out the book called The Hallelujah Diet. It's got some amazing testimonies in it about people who went mostly raw on the veggies and fruits and have had tremendous results. (Thanks for the info Mom!)

Another thing I've cut down on, due to the diabetes, is bad carbs and sugar. I very rarely eat white rice anymore...I eat it sparingly in dishes where I think I just cannot live without it (mostly dishes my Mom taught me to make from my childhood, like chicken pilau). I cut out white noodles, and now only bring whole wheat or multi-grain pastas into my house. When I want rice in a dish, I use brown rice. As a matter of fact, I made a dish just the other night with brown rice in it and my roommate commented to me that after eating that meal, he's decided he prefers brown rice over white rice now! See there....change IS possible!!

I've started using Stevia in my coffee as a replacement for sugar. It's a natural sugar substitute, not aspartame, but I do find that it has a little aftertaste like aspartame does. My friend Pam tells me that Xylitol, another natural sweetener, doesn't have the aftertaste and she likes it better than Stevia so I will be trying that soon.

Just last week, Pam told me how to make my own turkey sausage as a healthier alternative to other meats...for breakfast, or whenever. The first batch came out okay, Mom loved it, but it really is trial and error to get the spice level where you want it. I used 99% fat free ground turkey BREAST....not plain old ground turkey (that stuff is nasty). Because it's almost fat free, it tends to be very dry, so I added a couple of tbsp of olive oil to it. Then I added sage, fennel seed, thyme, adobo, salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper and some Old Bay seasoning. You have to use a large amount of these spices to get it to taste anywhere near sausage....enough to where you actually change the color of the meat. On the first batch I made, it came out tasting mostly like sage so my turkey sausage tasted more like Thanksgiving dressing. I'm making my next batch tonight and will be adding lots more red pepper to it to give it a spicy kick.

These are some of the changes I've made and I strive towards more every day. Some were kind of easy, others a little harder. The question is, are they worth it? The answer is yes. It's all about choices. The goal is to strive to make better and better ones as you move forward. A hamburger that you cook in the skillet at home is a much better choice than one you'd buy at a fast food restaurant. But a chicken breast that you baked/roasted/grilled for a sandwich loaded with fresh, yummy veggies is an even better one. Whatever you do, keep moving forward. Try to make a little better choice every day. :)

I made a new change today! I started counting calories. I do not yet have a set amount of calories/prot/fat/carbs in my head yet of what I want to aim for because I'm used to eating SUCH bad crap. I feel quite certain though that if I were to say I was going to limit it to 1200 calories a day I would fail before the end of the week. When you're used to eating 3-4,000 calories a day and maybe more, 1200 just ain't gonna' cut it. I can tell you that by 3pm today I had already consumed over 1,000 and was getting pretty discouraged. Everything I ate was healthy....nothing junky....everything from an egg white scramble w/ veggies and turkey sausage for breakfast, to a huge salad for lunch to a fruit smoothie this afternoon...and was already over 1,000. I thought about a 1200 calorie limit knowing I hadn't even eaten dinner yet, usually my biggest meal of the day, and I just wanted to cry.

Then I decided to take my friend Pam's advice and look up a fast food nutrition guide to see what I was used to eating. This is what I found:

Arby's

Large roast beef sandwich
Large curly fries
22 oz. Coke

Calories: 1,361
Protein: 51
Fat: 64
Carbs: 170

I was floored. More calories in one stupid sandwich than I was telling myself I could have in a whole day of eating. I used to would have eat this in a day along with at least 2 other meals and probably 3. Not to mention a couple of snacks and maybe some dessert if my sweet tooth kicked in. So you can see where I was very easily eating probably 4,000 a day. Suddenly, I didn't feel so bad about eating more than 1200 calories in a day, and especially knowing it was all healthy stuff. It's all about perspective. Decide what's right for you and go from there. :)

Before I end this post for today I want to ask a question. Have you ever noticed when you're down and depressed, feeling huge, falling off the horse AGAIN and laying there kicking, screaming and crying because you just do not WANT to get back up....... that sometimes all it takes to get us motivated again is just one single person saying they believe in us? Well, I believe in you. I truly do. I'll steady the horse while you swing your leg over and settle back down in the saddle. You can do this. You have to do this. We both do. And we will.....one day at a time. :)

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