Monday, August 03, 2009

Eating to Live

“Eat to Live” that’s what my Mom brought me up to do. If you are asking yourself what that is, it’s making making healthy food choices when you eat. Have I always done this? No!

During the course of my marriage my ex taught me how to “live to eat.” The results of that was that I, who had NEVER needed to diet (In fact, at 5’8”and 117 lbs., I needed to put on weight.), gained so many pounds that before my marriage ended I’d gotten up to 197. It didn’t help that I was going into menopause at the time we got married or that I had a job that kept me up all night and asleep all day. My ex was a sedentary couch potato who was a better, if not healthier, cook than I was. He eventually developed Type II Diabetes, although not while we were together. I consider myself lucky to have avoided that dreaded disease.

Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to diet. It doesn’t mean you have to avoid your favorite foods either. It does mean you should make the effort to eat them in moderation and as often as possible make healthier choices if your favorites aren’t good for you. If you don’t believe me on the healthy choices thing just ask Sandi. That post, her last post in December of 2008, is about how her making one bad choice almost landed her in the hospital. Making healthy choices doesn’t have to be hard. It does mean you need to know what healthy choices are, exhibit a little self control from time to time (This gets easier with practice!), and provide yourself with options at the dinner table so you don’t suffer feelings of deprivation.

I do my choosing by portion control, picking low sodium foods, and trying to avoid fat. I’m not perfect at this by any stretch of the imagination. Breads and crackers are my downfall. Get a package of cinnamon graham crackers around me and watch the pounds pile on. But I try my best not to keep the things I know will cause a weight gain in my pantry. And yes, that includes cinnamon grahams.

I wean myself off of bad choices if I learn I’m making them. I did this with milk in my marriage. He wanted whole milk. I discovered you could bake with 2% milk so I suggested this. We agreed it would be better and the change in fat wasn’t significant taste wise, so after 3 or 4 weeks of drinking that we were adapted to a lower fat milk. Then I suggested low fat or 1% because I needed the extra calcium in my diet and it was a better choice. For some reason when you reduce fat in milk the amount of calcium you get is increased. He agreed again so it was another step down. Then a few months later we went down to skim milk. This worked really well till his sister came for a visit. When she called our skim milk “chalk water” he immediately wanted to go back up to a higher fat content version. We did for a while and then went back down again. LOL You can probably guess from all of the above that eating healthy was a constant battle during our marriage. He was doing most of the cooking and would always be adding a little extra this or that into the food to “make it taste better.” As soon as our marriage ended the weight started dropping off and I went down to 145, a healthy weight for me.

I’m 155 pounds these days and I know I could easily drop the extra 10 pounds if I would exercise regularly. I still retain some of that couch potato habit I gained during my marriage, although it’s actually more of a desk chair habit as I spend most of my time at the computer these days. I’m working on the exercise thing. For some reason I find self control with exercise harder than with food. Oh well, resolutions are as easy to make as they are to break and all I have to do to get back on track is make a new one and I’ll work at it for a few days which is better than none at all. But enough about me.

The reason I started this now pretty long post (It wasn’t intended to be that, honest!), was to share a website that shows you how to make those healthy food choices by providing you with the info you need to make them. It’s Eat This, Not That! a page sponsored by Women’s Health magazine and also Men’s Health. They cover a full range of food choices and places where you might need to make them like eating out or the convenience store aisle. I’ve been following them through Yahoo, and then Google reader. I’ve found reason to share their articles with friends and family. You might find some of their info handy in the grocery store or at your favorite fast food restaurant. Their Best & Worst articles cover everything from gender health to sex. And there are lots of better choices for kids mentioned too. I hope you’ll make the time to check them out. Maybe it will help you make different choices the next time you hit the grocery store. Bon appétit!


Sandi McBride said...

You're right Lee...the choices we make in our lives affect every aspect of our lives. We can't make others make the right choices but we can certainly do right by ourselves! I am so glad that you have gotten yourself back on the right track! We'd like to keep you around for a long time!

Lee said...

Thank you, Sandi! You're right! Life is all about choices and making the right ones means a much better life awaits you then if you make the wrong ones. And yeah, I'd like to stay around for a long time too. LOL


Nita said...

Loved thd blog. I just joined the get healthy club too.
want to share a website that has helped me on my journey to thin. It's
check it out it is milllions of people all over the world trying to get healthy and lose weight.

Fletch said...

I actually read the post TWICE, Lee.

There is much in there (actually ALL) that should be followed slavishly.

We are fortunate that 'fast-food' isn't a cultural thing here - yet! The MacDs, KFCs and Pizza-deliveries are proliferating, but only in the cities.

Oh, I forgot to mention that we have a coffee-culture, drink copious amounts of red wine, and indulge in the ubiquitous PORT. The last is actually good for you despite some scare research that has linked it to gout in the past. A tiny glass a day after the evening meal actually thins the blood.

So there!

david mcmahon said...

I was lucky, Lee. Because I played sport constantly, I stayed lean.

But I could still eat a horse back then (and now!)

Lee said...

Thank you, Nita! I checked the page out and bookmarked it. I'm espcially pleased with the recipe section and intend to look into the fitness and motivation parts.


Lee said...

I'm delighted that you found so much to enjoy in the post, Fletch! Having less bad choices available is a GOOD thing! I hope your home never gets to the point of total quick and easy gratification that has been the diet downfall of mine.

My church serves port for communion. Thank you, it's so nice to know that I'm doing something healthy for both body and soul when I take it!

I keep reading that coffee is becoming a good for you food. I still like to drink it but have switched over to tea to gain the antioxidants. Still like a good cup of java with a dollup of irish cream in it on a cold night. :-)


Lee said...

You're not alone, David! Having stretched my stomach on my ex's good cooking I too could eat a fairly large meal. Since I know from your posts you are continually walking I'm guessing the pounds haven't made as much progress on you as they have on me. Way to go my friend!


myonlyphoto said...

Lee I was fortunate not to worry about my diet, but I did eventually learn how to eat healthy. Something I been following for few years now. I have this thing now that I can actually visualize what bad stuff can do to your body. Thanks for sharing your story, that makes me think of some of my bad habits I still have. Anna :)

Lee said...

Thank you, Anna for sharing your method of keeping yourself on track. We all have to find out what works for us. I'm so glad you found your good method.


San said...

An inspiring post. Lee. That takes determination--to lose the weight you have. Determination to live well!

You are not at a bad place now. Not a bad place at all, especially at 5'8". You're tall. The exercise takes commitment though. I could be much better in this department.

Lee said...

Thank you, San! To maintain that determination it tood a vision. That vision was of me in a sheeth dress. when I started I was 2 different sizes top and bottom. Now I"m just one. :-)

Yes, I bet most of us could be better at the exercise thing. Maybe that is why those folk sign up for The Biggest Loser. It helps them maintain the effort.