325 Pounds - Many Moons and Meals Ago
Simple Steps Towards Better Health!
People ask me ALL the time how to get started. Here are some tricks to light the way...maybe a lightbulb will go off, maybe a bell will ding, I hope you get at least one helpful tip out of all this, something to kickstart your journey or recharge your motivation. So here are my 'secrets' that are't so secret, and in no particular order of importance.
- Serve two vegetable choices at dinner. Fresh or Frozen is best. Cans are my last choice.
- Fruit makes an awesome dessert. Slice it up, chop it up, or just stick some in a bowl. :)
- Make a daily goal of at least 5 servings of fruits/vegetables, preferably 3 veggies and 2 fruits. Use that as a starting point and build from there. Give yourself (or your kids) a point or star for each day you hit five. Once you can do that easily, increase it to seven.
- Drink a boat load of water. Well, maybe not literally, but drink a lot. Like a whole lot.
- Ditch the soda! Do not buy it, do not have it in the house .. use it as a treat only.
- Eating out should be an exception, not the rule. It should be an experience, not a habit or last resort due to fatigue or convenience/time. Try not to eat out more than once a week. When you do eat out, eat somewhere good - with quality food - a sit down restaurant. Enjoy the experience and atmosphere. Enjoy the company and conversation with others. Keep fiber bars or protein bars in your vehicle if you need to do that to skip the drive-thru.
- Breakfast is important - do NOT skip it. If you can't fathom cooking or preparing something for breakfast, consider Smoothies. They are fabulous and it helps me greatly with my eating and texture issues. I get good stuff into me through smoothies that I might not otherwise. Great resources are: Green Smoothie Girl's Blog or Green Thickies.
- Snacks for your kids should be fruits or veggies, or quality yogurt and cheese ... get creative, make it look cute on a plate, make it fun ... go to Pinterest if you need to do such.
- Learn about MSG. If you don't know what that is, research the stuff. Draw your own conclusions, but as for me and my family, we avoid it whenever possible.
- Add quinoa to your diet. Many people, and experts alike, suggest that we all avoid white food, as in white bread, white pasta, white rice ... you get the idea. I'm not completely convinced all white food is the devil, but it certainly isn't going to hurt you to avoid these things if you feel it will benefit your health to do so.
- Learn about and adjust your portions. Learn what real portions should look like. Americans are terrible at portion control and we have lost all perspective on what a serving of something really is ... if you don't know, weigh and measure. Start tracking your food intake with a free online app like MyFitnessPal or SparkPeople, use your smartphone if you need to do that. You can even buy plates that outline and show the portions and what should be where. I saw some great ones at Amazon, for both children and adults. Figure out a great visual for what a true serving of meat should look like, etc.
- Google 'Salad in a jar'. The results are plentiful. Take your pick. It's easy and fun. Great for lunch on the go.
- Clean out your pantry. De-clutter the thing and organize it. If you don't have a pantry, do the cabinets or whatever you use for storing food. Do the same for the your freezer and refrigerator. Donate or throw away the foods that you know are problematic for you or your family.
- Discover the joy of nuts and seeds. In particular, try out chia seeds, ground flax, sesame seeds, and wheat germ. I suggest you keep a little container of these things handy so you can sprinkle such onto anything and everything you can imagine. It adds amazing fiber that is much needed in our diets, and often missing.
- Learn about Corn Syrup, especially High Fructose Corn Syrup. There is a lot of research that suggests a solid link between metabolic disorder and type 2 diabetes, for starters. But do your own research. I am purposefully not including sources or links, I want you to do your own reading and draw your own conclusions.
- Don't fear the fat. Distinguish the difference between good fat and bad fat. You need the good kind and it is found in things like nuts, avocados, nut butters, etc.
- Know your numbers; as in your weight, measurements, cholesterol, blood pressure, resting heart rate, blood sugar, thyroid, body fat percentage, blood type, etc. You can't fix what you won't face, so go to the doctor regularly and know your numbers. Keep track of this information. Health and wellness is so much more than the number on a scale.
- Figure out what your daily caloric needs are according to your activity level and resting metabolism rate. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, get a free consultation at a gym, they usually offer that, or hire a personal trainer to figure it out for you. It is worth the money. Then adjust those daily caloric needs as your body changes and activity level changes.
- Don't believe everything you read in a blog. Use your own brain and common sense and be educated. Don't give into scare tactics and alarmist theories.
- Finally: try out some healthy freezer meals. If you do not have a Wildtree or Pampered Chef consultant, find one - they are awesome and do great freezer meal workshops, quality food, good prices. If you need a referral, I know some great reps. Also, here are some fabulous websites as resources.
- Freezer Dinner – this website includes fun and interesting recipes, go peek.
- Once a Month Mom – this website is in favor of once a month cooking, but if that is not for you, you can still take some of their ideas and incorporate them into your lifestyle. They even include recipes that are vegetarian, gluten free, etc.
- Stolen Moments Cooking – this website is great for those of us who like fast and easy cooking - folks like myself.