Wednesday, June 24, 2015

My Fitness Foods

I think in general my generation has grown up with an uneducated understanding of foods. Additionally, processed foods became rather popular during our youth and as a result we all grew up eating it, a lot. My food journey was hard because it meant breaking a lot of deeply rooted habits, and really changing the way I think and understand foods.

Tone It Up has a mantra: lean & green. Lean proteins and plenty of green veggies. Ultimately, if you want the short and simple of it, this should be the general idea when it comes to choosing foods.

Oklahoma City, is known for being among the fattest cities in America. As a result, one initiative has been to promote healthy eating on billboards all over the city. One of their mantras: fill half your plate with fruits and veggies. Again, this is the way to go.

I'm not a dietitian and I definitely still have a lot to learn about foods but I feel like I have learned quite a bit over this last year. And the way I've changed my eating has had a huge role in losing the weight. I used to think I didn't want to change the way I ate because I enjoyed food but changing your diet is more than half the battle. You can't just work out.

So what have I done and what does an average day, meal wise, look like for me? Let's see if I can break it down simply.

Over the past year I've cut a lot out of my diet, mostly my at-home diet (meaning, some of this I still eat out at restaurants but don't have in my home), for the most part. I cut a lot of bread items like sandwiches, croutons, crackers...etc.  Cereal was the hardest to say no to. I've weighed out the amount of cheese I should have in a day and eat only that amount, or none at all. We eat quinoa instead of pasta. I choose the leanest turkey/chicken. We eat fruits a lot more. I try not to keep sweets in the house, but honestly I still struggle with that. I read labels before I purchase anything. I cut peanut butter for a long time but now it's back (natural only) and I know exactly how much I should eat. I can't really remember everything we've changed but it could be easily summed up with: we try and stay away from processed foods in our home. Don't get me wrong, I love bread and all those sugary processed foods, but they don't fit with my end goal. So every now and then I plan on enjoying oreos but no longer will they come into my home once a month. 

For me it's a lifestyle change, this is what my diet will look like most of the time, as in 95% of the time I will eat this way. I will choose lean and green. But sometimes, that 5%, I'll indulge and enjoy it. I will not feel guilty about it because I know I'm taking care of my body with the majority of what I eat.

Another key? Water. Make it your best friend. Fortunately for me, my mom didn't let us have soda growing up, and for some reason I never fought that rule. Now, I just don't really like soda and I drink water 99% of the time. That one percent of the time I'll have a lemonade, or celebratory white wine. I'm not even a coffee drinker! So it's water, all the time, every meal and between meals! This is something I've always done but I'm focusing on how much water I'm drinking now. You should be drinking about half your weight in water ounces. So I have figured out how many ounces are in the cup I drink out of at work and make sure to to fill it up as many times as I need to. There's no such thing as too much water, just plan to make friends with the potty.

My average day, in foods, looks like:

Meal 1: Breakfast: Half a glass of water & a spoonful of apple cider vinegar (this was from TIU but I've seen many articles on the benefits of this, google it), + half a grapefruit & 1 egg (scrambled) or 1 tbspn peanut butter on toast or greek yogurt + granola (and sometimes it's just the grapefruit)
Meal 2: Snack: An apple.
Meal 3: Lunch: {Recently, I changed my eating plan, I swapped my dinner & lunch. This way I'm eating the "heavier meal" earlier in the day which gives my body more time to work through it. So what my husband has for dinner, I eat for lunch. And now I eat my salads at dinner. I made this change several months ago and it's been working really well for me.}Usually the dinner from the night before, so for today, for example, it would be a black beans and yellow rice, plus some veggies & fruit. Like, carrots or grapes or pineapple. Sometimes I'll have greek yogurt+ granola at lunch if I didn't have it for breakfast. 
Meal 4: If I can't make it to dinner, I'll munch on some almonds or granola...maybe my apple if I didn't have it earlier in the day. Usually, I don't have a meal four but my tone-it-up friends almost always do.
Meal 5: Dinner: Spinach salad with garbonzo/kidney beans + carrots, + I'll pop in raw green beans or, broccoli, or a meat like turkey/chicken. I'll have the vegetable of that night's dinner with my salad too.

The biggest change in my diet has been my portion control. I've been eating similarly to this over the past two years but over this year, I've really worked on portion control. That's been worked on by popping my meals into myfitnesspal and understanding how much I was eating and how I could eat less. We also eat on what is technically, the salad plate to our dish set. It's smaller than the dinner plate, so it looks like you're eating much more. I logged my meals into myfitnesspal until I felt confident to choose portions on my own. I think it took about three or four weeks for me to get the hang of it. It's annoying but so worth it!

Another thing I had to understand, it's okay to sometimes be hungry. Now, please don't misunderstand, I'm not starving myself nor do I suggest that. What I mean is pay attention to your body. Does it really need more after dinner, or does it just need to rest and absorb what you've eaten? If you've had a fulfilling meal (lean and green!) then you will be okay to just wait out those small hunger pains. There's a difference between being hungry because you've not had enough good food, and being a little hungry for more. Listen to your body, get to know what it really needs, not wants. And when all else fails, go for fruit or veggies in that moment of hunger!

The hardest lesson, one that I'm still daily working on, is changing my thought process about foods. I loved the way one of my friends put it, and wish I could remember it exactly. Basically, I've been trying to stop label foods as "bad" or "good." I'm trying to stop calling some meals "cheat meals." This is my one life, and I still plan on enjoying it! Some/most meals are going to be healthy and some maybe not so much, but that doesn't make it bad. That one less-than-healthy-meal is going to be simply that, one. It won't take over the whole day, and I won't allow it to make me feel awful about myself. As my favorite radio show puts it, stop food shaming! Both to yourself and others. I'm trying to learn to enjoy my ice cream but also choose more healthy over more ice cream. Guilt is not healthy. Like I said on Monday: "Some food is nutritious to my body and some is just tasty and worth eating every now and then. One unhealthy meal doesn't give way to a whole unhealthy day. I should be able to have the will power to choose nutritious foods more. "

Passing up on sweets sometimes (or just having less), and not eating every single time I'm hungry has been hard! Of course, I haven't given up everything. Like I said above, I'll still eat some of my favorites when I go out to eat with Kevin, like pizza! In my line of work, I'm often having reps, who are awesome, take me out to eat but I've really started to work on choosing wisely at those meals and also watching that portion control. It's easy to over-eat on those meals.

It's been baby steps, and small changes, one decision at a time. It's been slow change for me and I'm still learning and still changing but I'm finding the healthier I eat, the more by body likes it. We had fried chicken just the other night and I honestly woke up not feeling very good. I like fried chicken but apparently my body doesn't so much anymore,so that is going to make it easier to say no to.

And it's made all the easier when you remember who you're really doing this all for. God made your body, Christ lives in your body, so feed it as though your feeding the King of Kings! And remember, you can do this! You can change your eating pattern if you ask God to give you the strength to do it! I read in my devotional this morning that we CAN resist all temptations in life, they all come from the enemy and God defeated the enemy!!! If we choose to lean on God's strength and power, the enemeny must leave. Walk in that power. Give God glory in the foods you choose to eat.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

I can't write this post without a huge shout out to my wonderful husband, my biggest cheerleader! Babe, you've done so well this year encouraging me to eat healthier and to choose to say no to things. Thank you for sacrificing some of your favorite foods to help put me, and us, on a healthier eating path. You've been a major reason that I'm finally seeing change. I love you. Thank you for being awesome!

See my other fitness posts:

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