Sunday, March 6, 2011

Continuing toward a healthier me

Some might say it's hard to be healthy in today's society.  I don't think that's much of a stretch.  Restaurants serve huge portions (at least twice the side of what we should be eating).  The cheapest foods in the grocery store are often the junk food (a key point in this economy).  Our social interactions are often based around eating or drinking (which is not only high calorie, but often leads to poor food choices...at least in my case).

I will never be perfect when it comes to what I eat.  I enjoy sweets (especially baking and sharing them).  I love a good burger and fries.  Pizza is a major weakness.  I will never give them all up completely, but I am trying to moderate how often I eat them and how much of them I eat.  Trying is all it takes, right?  Fake it 'til you make it? 

My strategy is to avoid most unhealthy choices until they no longer sound good.  This doesn't work for all foods (especially those listed above), but so far, it's worked with pop (or soda).  A few weeks ago, I read a post on Iowa Girl Eats' blog (a daily must-read) about she and her husband giving up pop.  (That link goes to her husband's quest, here's the one to her declaring her intent to give it up.) Like me, her draw to pop was as much about the carbonation as it was the caffeine.  She suggested trying seltzer water and juice.  It works -- I get the fizziness and good flavor.  Now, I haven't given up pop completely, but I've only had two over the past two weeks (that's a huge cutback for me).  And honestly, they didn't taste as good to me as I used to believe.  And I felt gross after I drank it.  Hopefully, I can continue to steer clear of pop.

I've also started adhering to the long-proven strategy of low calorie snacks during the day.  This has become key in my daily schedule to prevent me from being so hungry at lunch or dinner that I overeat.  My morning snack is usually a Fiber One bar or some other sort of granola bar snack.  I also love the Quaker Oatmeal to Go bars.  In the afternoon, I treat myself to yogurt.  These days, I'm all about Chobani.  I discovered it a few weeks ago, and it's the first greek yogurt I've tried where the gritty-ish texture doesn't turn me away.  And they have some awesome flavors -- I've only tried strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and lemon so far.  I have pomegranate in my fridge.  I'm dying to find some pineapple, mango and black cherry. I'm also looking forward to trying some of the recipes on their site (as soon as I have a normal kitchen again instead of this temporary set-up). It just so happens that recipelion is giving away a sampler case of some of the new flavors.  I want!!

Finally, I've adopted a dining trick my former workout partner (I miss her!) was using to drop some weight.  Her doctor suggested it to her, and it was working.  I decided it was time to try it myself.  During meals, I take a drink of water after each bite.  It really makes you slow down and fills you up faster.  I've only been doing this a week or so.  I'm anxious to see how it works over time.

The most important thing for me is staying active.  My job largely consists of me sitting at a desk and computer.  The three-story climb a few times a day gives my heart a little boost, but I know I need to do more.  On the nice days we've had here, I've gone out for a walk/jog along the lake.  Gorgeous.  But those nice days are few and far between right now, so I'm trying to develop a decent rotation of workout DVDs and those available on Netflix Instant and my Wii Fit.  Some days, I just don't want to workout, but I try to make myself do it anyway.  I only take a few days off each week.

What unhealthy food should you give up but can't?

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