Baby Steps to Eating Healthy

Continuing my series on Transforming in a Fat Prejudiced Society, today’s post is how to make baby steps to eating healthy. In July 2014, I completed my 1st round of Whole30 which is babystepsvery simply eating meat, vegetables and fruit in their most natural state, which means eliminating foods with added ingredients  (see graphic at right–Whole30 Nos).

This experience was awesome, but for me, 30 days wasn’t long enough to keep me on the straight and narrow beyond 4 months. Christmas time, which is difficult for most everyone, totally killed my weight loss for the year, and I realized that sugar was indeed my enemy, along with dairy which is a big time trigger food group for me.

I’m now 90 days into my plan to implement this for the entire year and maybe the rest of my life. Again, I didn’t just wake up for my first baby step and conquer this (although I do believe if you’re really fed up, you may be able to, so don’t restrict yourself. It’s always worth a try! You can do anything for 30 days, right?).

All of that being said, this was a process. I’ve been working on modifying my behavior over the course of years and have been successful doing it. The behavior changes didn’t result in weight loss, but they did result in control over food options. Now, to share how I did that.

It’s really very simple. You are ready for change emotionally. You are ready, right? You’re ready to give the effort? Or are you just wanting change to come without your effort because that only exists in really bad infommercials, and none of that is for sale here. This is for the person who is ready for change. Sick to death of feeling like you do emotionally and physically. Yes, you! You’re ready!! You can do this!!

So the very simple step is to not buy anything in a package. Of course everything comes in packages, so let me clarify. If it went through a “process” to be edible, then don’t buy it. At this phase, if I wanted lasagna, I made it. Macaroni? I made it from scratch. If it is worth having, it is worth you making it yourself. What? You can’t cook?? No excuse. YouTube exists! Blogs exist. You can find step by steps everywhere on the web now. So you have NO excuse for not being able to cook. Don’t want to cook?? Then consider a raw food diet. That is actually a very viable option. Check it out.

This step made shopping very easy. I skipped all of the prepackaged meals and sides. I bought the ingredients necessary to make the items I wanted. My cooking skill improved. There are lots of healthy eating resources out there for free recipes online. People just love sharing what they’ve cooked and how they did it. I personally love the Clean Eating Magazine. The great part about this is almost all of these resources are on FB, too, so you can combine this step along with the previous step of making your environment positive. Add the healthier FB pages and unfollow those that aren’t healthy, so it isn’t in your face how to create a tripe chocolate, oreo cookie, peanut butter, chocolate whopper, dessert because honestly, who needs any one of those items much less all of them in the same dish?!

So, back when I was taking my first step toward healthier eating for me and my family, my shopping buggy was full of items like milk, cheese (although processed–that’s a different process than what I’m referring to) and juice. I skipped all the aisles with crackers and cookies and went straight to the canned fruit and vegetables. I bought fruit in it’s own juice instead of syrup. I bought plain canned vegetables without anything else added other than salt. I then went to the pastas and bought angel hair pasta because it’s quicker to cook. I do prefer the brand that is made with vegetables, so I suggest those. It is a healthier option.

I did eat beans and rice at the time (although I do not now). Choose Basmati or Jasmine rice, they have a lower glycemic impact. Use real butter instead of margarine and eliminate items with added sugar as much as you can begin doing. Of course, the next step is meat. Get it from the meat department. Fresh meat, no added seasonings because they almost always include sugar or brown sugar.

Add your own spices and be careful–many of them have added sugar and flavor boosters that border on addictive. Stick with simple spices that when added together are awesome like garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, Thai seasoning free of sugar, there are many options out there. Just be sure to get the unsalted options because you’ll add salt also to make your mix, and you don’t want it to be too much salt.

Finish up in produce and bread. While I don’t eat bread now, I did choose breads higher in grains. They are really good. I was eating the 12-14 whole grain option, and it was really good, but baby step up to that if you need to. Look for bread options that say no high fructose corn syrup and low in sugar.

Have a blast in the produce department. You may be walking into this area for the first time in your life. What? You mean that squash doesn’t come already sliced and frozen when it’s born? 😉 Now don’t get me wrong. Frozen is ok, too. I actually forgot this aisle. This does help in prep time and makes cooking faster. Totally ok as long as it doesn’t come in sauces. Just raw veggies or fruit, frozen.

I do encourage you to get some fresh produce and begin adding it to your meal plan. Potatoes, white and sweet. Squash and zucchini. Spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, onions, everything you need for your salad. I’m from the south, so those are my go to veggies, but there may be other options where you live. Eat what is in season because it will have the most flavor. As far as fruit, have fun with it, but be careful with those that have a higher natural sugar content. They can sabotage your weight loss goals. Eat them in moderation–those are grapes, apples, and really ripe bananas. Eat plenty of citrus and berries. They are lower in fructose. Enjoy nuts in moderation. Eat them in their raw state. You’ll be shocked just how awesome they taste! Be careful for peanuts, many people have allergies to peanuts an don’t even realize it. If you have gut troubles, eliminate beans (not string beans) and peanuts.

So that is your first shopping trip of eliminating processed foods. There are no canned meals or boxed meals in your shopping buggy. You’re reading labels and avoiding anything that has sugar or high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient. Some items may have sugar as an ingredient lower on the list, and that’s ok for this baby step phase with the plan to eventually buy only items free of sugar.

You can totally do this. You’re going to feel very good about yourself and so good about your improved cooking skills. You’re even going to see that you’re having fun. I would love to share more of what I’ve learned about cooking and preparing healthy food, so if there is a place that you would like for me to start, please comment. Let me know what types of food you like, and I will show you how you can do it at home. Hey, I’m all about simple and fast. I don’t do the long elaborate recipes, so I’m not expecting that of you either. So what would you like to see?

Come back soon. I will be writing on the next big phase that you may want to join me on. It’s called #Fit30. I will be writing on it this weekend. Don’t miss it!

GoFundMe/241Journey

I am SO excited to announce that I am taking the next step in my journey by starting a GoFundMe/241Journey campaign. This comes at a perfect time after the post on creating your own group of support. This, however, is a little different. It is my motivation.

I am highly motivated by helping others be successful. It causes a “practice what you preach” response in me, which really helps me dig deep in pursuit of my goals. I also feel that as I experience success in reaching my goals, my success will in turn motivate those who I am assisting. It’s an awesome cycle!

I have been faced with opportunities to help people who are obese/morbidly obese. I don’t charge anyone to help them, and in cases when I buy something that will help them reach a goal, I don’t request repayment. I am by no means rich. I just believe in paying it forward when I am able to. Limited funds, however, prevent me from being to cast a wider net. I can help one person here and one person there, but I would like to really be able to reach out and begin building a much larger network.

GoFundMe/241Journey will offer that opportunity. There are a lot of people out there who say, “Oh, I’d love to help but I don’t have the skill or the time,” and helping to fund this campaign will allow them to do just that without needing skill or time. They help others through making it financially possible for me to assist participants in eliminating as many obstacles to good health/nutrition/fitness as possible.

Notice the new menu at the top of this blog. I will be providing regular feedback also to allow donors to know just how effective their support was. NOTE: 100% of the funds received will be used to assist participants.

Please take time to share this post with your friends across all social media avenues. You’ll notice there is a list of share buttons at the end of this post. Thank you for sharing, and if you choose to support my campaign, thank you, thank you, thank you for paying it forward. May it return to you 100 fold!

 

How to Survive Obesity: Identify Triggers

Well, the first of the year is here, and maybe you’ve set a weight loss goal. My goal for this blog is to continue where we left off last year, which is Identifying Triggers. We have covered How to Survive Obesity: Accept Need for Change (please read back through those posts if you haven’t already). So let’s get started. NOTE: If your triggers aren’t food related, list whatever they are.

I didn’t set a weight loss goal for a New Year’s resolution because it isn’t just something I work on at the beginning of the year. I have been working on this goal what feels like the better part of my adult life. Fortunately, the more I learn the more hope I have. I have identified my need for change and all of of the steps that come along with preparing for change. Now, we need to identify food triggers.

Food triggers can COMPLETELY derail your efforts. I’m not referring to an “opps, I gained 2 lbs because I ate a trigger food and got of track for a week.” I am talking about, “I gained 15 lbs because I ate a trigger food and got off track for 2 months.” We each have foods that are our our kryptonite. It is up to you to identify which ones are yours. It is IMPERATIVE that you identify which ones are yours.

To make a truly honest list, think back to all of those times that you fell off the wagon. What was it that caused your fall? It may be a food category like CARBS, or it may be very specific, Mac/Cheese. Be honest with yourself and try to identify as many as possible.

Next week, we will review our food triggers. Use this week coming to make a list of foods that make you feel weak in the knees. Foods that make you eat more. Foods that make you feel guilty. Foods that you just shouldn’t eat at all because you get too far off of your plan for better health. Make the list, and we will categorize them next week.

See you stronger next week.

How to Accept Need for Change : Recognizing the Link between Lifestyle and Health Condition

How to accept the need for change includes being able to recognize that there IS a link between our chosen lifestyle and our current health condition. While lifestyle can include a vast number of things, for the purpose of this post it is defined as the way we eat and move.

For years (and I still do), I have asked the question, how does my body know how many calories I am eating? It’s not like a gas pump that knows how much gas has gone into the tank. There isn’t a dohickie thing that you can wear that counts the calories as they go in like a Pac-man game (if there was I would buy it). I felt like if I didn’t know how many calories were going in my body, then my body could be tricked into believing I hadn’t eaten as much as I had. I know better of course, but it’s just the way I FELT. My head understood the process, but my behavior didn’t.

As the years crept on, I would start hurting here and there. Oh, it’s just a sign of aging, I would think (except my mother doesn’t complain of it and she’s 20 years older than I…my grandmother may not even complain about the same things and she’s 40 years older that I am). Oh, well I slept wrong would explain the back woes, and I stayed up too late would explain my chronic fatigue (and I do stay up too long). I snap, crackle and pop more than Rice Crispies on a world tour, and why would I EVER think that it had anything to do with the way I eat. After all, my body doesn’t really know what I eat.

After LOTS of reading and research on how the body operates, and how it is able to determine the value of what we eat, even if it doesn’t know exactly what it is, I finally decided to be honest with myself. After all, kidding myself only hurts me. It doesn’t make the scale reflect any less. I don’t look any thinner to those around me. (I may be able to mind meld them to believe I am thinner. 😉 ) I can now say it, my body hurts me because I have hurt it CONTINUOUSLY over and over again. If someone continuously hurt you, wouldn’t you be in pain regularly? Even if you attempted to hide the abuse, your body would show signs of that abuse over the course of time.

Mine is.

I have treated my body so badly that I am hoping we haven’t reached the point of no return. Just as in human relationships, there is a point where pain will cause a split that can’t be repaired. Fortunately, our bodies are more resilient than our relationships. We can’t let the fear that we’ve gone to far stop us from trying. Just like human relationships that we beg and plead for forgiveness committed to never giving up, we have to be that way with our body.

A very wise friend of mine tells me over and over, “Give your body what it needs, and it will give you what you want.” I would just be like “yadee yadaa, yadee yadaa,” but she is so right! I have experienced a huge victory after only losing 5-7% of my body weight once (that’s not a lot of weight, but the victory was awesome!). I know that it is possible for the body to forgive.

So, can you make the connection between your lifestyle and your health condition? Can you go to your mirror (literally not figuratively) and say to yourself, I accept that I have hurt you…I accept that I have abused you…I want to change and do better for you…I realize that my eating and movement habits have caused you to hurt, and I don’t want to hurt you anymore. I want to care for you, protect you, and give you a chance to add many years of playing with the kids, sharing time with grandchildren, beating the guys at football, being comfortable in front of the mirror and those you love, and enjoying every day of your life.

If you can humble yourself enough to be honest with yourself (and eventually those around you as well), you will have a better chance at accepting the need for change enough to truly make a difference in your decisions.

You have your assignment. Should you choose to accept it, come back tomorrow and read the next step toward fulfilling the acceptance needed to move on.

Hope to see you here.