Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Start

My post yesterday may have made me appear to be a neurotic calorie counter on the verge of an eating disorder. I know a few people in my life who appear to be naturally skinny who wish that I would fall into such healthy habits that I could just eat and not think about it. This may be a nice thought, but I have been overweight for most of my life, so I doubt such a thing as healthy eating without thinking is possible for me. Besides, thinking is supposed to be a good thing.

I began this weight loss process because my doctor was alarmed at some of my test results. At that time I had gained 30 pounds in the year since my last checkup and my cholesterol was high. I am 32 years old, and in my mind this is too young to be on regular medication. Still, I was about to throw in the towel and accept my fate. I told my doctor that high cholesterol seemed to run in my family. She looked up from her paper work and responded, “Well, this Triglyceride count is something that can change. It’s based on nothing but what we put in our mouths.” At that point it was as if epiphany struck. If this was something I could change then I would change it.

I immediately began examining my diet and questioning how I had gained so much weight in the past year. Fast food stuck out as one major offender because as I became busier more of my meals came from the drive-through. My fast food habit ended that day. Snacking was another problem. On a bad day I may stop off for a king size candy bar and soda or buy a high calorie coffee treat. I stopped rewarding or entertaining myself with candy and syrupy lattes right then. These were good starters and I am proud to say that I have stuck to my convictions, but there was more to learn.

I began searching the internet for ideas. I realized that I simply didn’t know how to eat or live to be a healthier weight. I found Losing Weight After 45 Is a Bitch during one of these searches and found the calorie calculator. (However, here is my favorite calculator because it asks about activity.) Counting calories probably does not work for everyone, but it was a magic formula for me. As long as I could eat a certain number each day and achieve a goal outcome, I could do this.

My diet has become healthier over time and I have learned to cook, but knowing the number got me started. I lost most of the weight without exercise this way, but now I exercise five days or more a week along with three days of yoga. Exercise has made a huge difference in my body and my life. I will blog about that someday soon.

Breakfast Cookie – 300 calories

I made my cookie last night from 1/4 cup oats, 1 teaspoon natural peanut butter, 1/8 cup almond milk, 1/2 a banana, big dash of cinnamon and a small dash of nutmeg.

After 20 minutes of yoga, I had lunch.

Large spinach salad topped with chopped yellow apple and balsamic vinaigrette – 200 calories

Whole wheat cracker with natural peanut butter and coffee – 200

Later I had a cup of black tea with 1/4 cup skim milk and a teaspoon of Splenda, two whole cashews and three pistachios, a cereal bar – 200

I rarely drink caffeine anymore, but today I’ve been digging it. This is probably because I am suffering from sinus problems that are making me feel sluggish. Also, I do not encourage others to use Splenda. As much as I have tried to remove most of the processed and artificial food from my diet, I cannot seem to avoid it as much as I would like and right now I cannot find a better no calorie sweetener to use.

Dinner brought more processed food.

Raw broccoli, cauliflower, baby carrots with 1 tablespoon of hummus for dipping – 100 calories

Lean Cuisine frozen pizza – 340

Tonight was pizza night at my house. I serve the family a pizza made at a local deli. The deli puts it together using 100% real cheese and a handmade crust (I am not certain about the sauce), but I eat the preservative filled mini pizza because it is low in calories and fat. Luckily the ingredients list is not as scary as I expected. Pizza is one food that I really miss from my days of eating whatever I wanted without thinking too much about it. I am a Gen Xer; we all ate a lot of pizza.

After-dinner snack/dessert:
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt and about 7 frozen strawberries – 150 calories or less


This is good because I like to keep my daily total at about 1500 on days that I do not do cardio.

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