Diet. I hate this word. ‘Diet’ denies the self and is temporary. The Webster dictionary defines diet as: “a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight.” The key word here is ‘sparingly.’ Eating ‘sparingly’ cannot last in the long term.
Instead, ‘lifestyle change’ or ‘healthy eating’ is a concept that is sustainable. I was never one to diet–that is until last year. And last year I tried a bunch–the all starch diet, a vegetarian diet and then the hard boiled egg diet. I could maintain each for about a month lose a few pounds and then eventually fall off the wagon and revert back to my normal eating habits and pack on the weight I lost plus an additional few pounds. But really, each of these diets were flawed. How could I expect to only eat starches or hard boiled eggs for longer than a month? What was I thinking? I wanted an easy fix and wanted to lose weight quickly and I wasn’t really thinking about my overall health.
So I started researching foods and from the library I got out the book “The Sugar Detox” and after reading the first few pages that detailed eliminating all sugar–including my beloved coffee creamer–I put the book down and never looked at it again.
I never had a problem with my weight. But after having my twins 5 years ago, I have been unable to shed the last 10 pounds or so after the pregnancy. Recently I began evaluating my food choices and wondering why I couldn’t lose those pounds. I started thinking about my relationship with food. I never thought of food as fuel for the body. Instead my relationship with food was tied to reward/feeling good. I read the book “Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It” and this book changed my relationship with food.
This book is very interesting; it details the history of food consumption in America as well as the science of how food (nutrients) fuels our bodies. We tend to think of Americans as having a weight issues/obesity problems only recently, but this book details how we have a history of fatness. Many Americans were fat during the Great Depression, despite poverty, children were overweight:So although we think obesity is a recent epidemic it has in fact existed for centuries–but the only difference is that more of us are getting obese (35% of the population in the U.S.). And why is that? Because everything we buy at our local grocery store is filled with sugar and empty calories –basically convenience foods are making us fat (and sick e.g. Diabetes) according to “Why We Get Fat.”
I was in denial of what I was eating. I thought that corporations and the government wouldn’t produce food that is unhealthy for its population. But then after reading books and learning about how sugar is an addiction and observing my world–(look at people’s grocery carts) it is our food supply that is making us fat–not just fast food, but the convenience foods in our homes: the pastas, cereals, sandwiches and sugared drinks and juices. Our food is making us fat and (unhealthy) and because we are getting fatter, we require more food to fuel our body. It is a vicious cycle and has nothing to do with laziness but with the actual food supply. Education on nutrition and access to a higher quality food supply are requirements to change this epidemic.
After reading “Why We Get Fat” I have shifted my eating habits and hope to incorporate the changes I have made in my own life to that of my children and hopefully to those who read this blog. I have finally been able to read and understand the book “Sugar Detox.” This is another book that I would recommend–it gives tips not only for eliminating sugar from one’s food, but also details the effects of sugar on the body… e.g. premature aging.
For most of January and now the beginning of February I have made every meal for myself from non-processed foods. My breakfast has been eggs, fresh spinach and salsa with uncured bacon and my lunch as been salads and homemade soups. For dinners I have made homemade salads, roasted vegetables, and meats. For the salads in lieu of dressing, I use fresh salsa and balsamic vinegar. I have eliminated all sugar and flour from my food (except for dark chocolate chips as a snack) and have lost 7 pounds so far. Cooking all of my meals from scratch is a lot of work–but it is worth it, as I feel and look healthier. I am also going to the gym 5 days a week–(Planet fitness has a great deal of $10 a month and it’s a stone’s throw from my twins preschool) but going to the gym makes me extra hungry, so I am eating a lot — but I am not filling up on sugared foods–I am eating a balance of proteins, fats and vegetables.
I am also drinking a lot of water and hot teas. I have found teas that I LOVE at Whole Foods. This tea has a unique taste and satisfies my sweet tooth.
In the coming weeks I will share some of my recipes–turkey soup with yellow squash and cabbage soup with hot sausage and cast iron skillet chicken.
These are all great foods to fuel your body. I also just bought a spiralizer and look forward to experimenting with carrot and zucchini noodles, and any successful recipes I will share. Here’s hoping February is as successful as January for healthy lifestyle execution. If you have any suggestions/tips please comment!