The next series of blog posts will be devoted to health and nutrition. I will preface this blog by saying, I am by no means a health and nutrition expert. My views on this topic are mine alone, and if you are interested in any points I make on this topic, I urge you to do your own research, and make choices based on your own findings. If in doubt, please consult a health expert or family doctor. These posts, while I aim to be informative to you, are merely tidbits of information I have found throughout the years, and things I have found to be beneficial to my life.
Why this series of blog posts?
I recently reminded myself, that although I do try and eat healthy and stay fit, I can do more. Have I slipped from time to time? Of course, I have. I am human. For the most part, I try to eat in moderation and choose healthy whole foods, however during the last few months, I’ve seen a little more junk food stacking my shelves in my kitchen and I think I need a reboot. Perhaps this particular winter has beaten me up a little more than I’d like to admit. I’ve stayed indoors as I really don’t enjoy cold temperatures, and perched myself on my couch with my fuzzy kids, who seem content to lay atop my lap as I catch the next episode of The Walking Dead or Netflix flick. I’ve got a partner in crime, which doesn’t help matters. My spouse. Oh, how he likes the sugar and salt. Of course, it’s not his fault we’ve become this way as of late. We’ve still managed to get on the treadmill and exercise. But no more excuses on the food.
The truth of my weight journey can go back as early as childhood. I was always the bigger kid in school. Not necessarily fat, but I was taller than everyone, and just a little broader than everyone. I was always aware of this fact, and perhaps it is why I was cognizant in my later years about watching my weight and choosing better foods. I was active as a kid, so that helped a lot. I loved my sports. As I became a teenager, I most likely had a few extra pounds and that continued until my twenties but nothing too out of control. During college, I thinned down, but not necessarily in a healthy way and by my later twenties, the pounds magically appeared. Long weekends with friends, eating fried foods, and beer can pad one up in no time. After a couple of years, I slimmed down again by trying a slew of different diets. From fasting, to Atkins, to South Beach, etc. I dabbled in many of the popular ones. Yes, I did lose weight, but as soon as I left the diet, the pounds would creep back on. I soon realized, I couldn’t keep to a regimented diet. For one, many of these diets didn’t make me feel better. For instance, while the Atkins diet worked and I dropped the weight, I was tired all the time. Secondly, having to prepare foods at a time in my life when I was going out and meeting friends, and enjoying a fun social life was impossible. How many restaurants could cater to my needs? Pretty much none. And trying to prepare foods in advance became an unorganized task, I did not enjoy.
I made a choice in my thirties, that I would stop having delusions that these popular diets would work for my life, longterm. I stopped buying the ‘promises’ on foods that marketed themselves as ‘fat free’ or ‘sugar free’ or ‘low calorie’. In a later blog post, I will tell you why. I also started buying whole foods and stopped looking at pre packaged, ready made meals from the grocery freezer. Finally, I started to become more aware from a nutritional standpoint what was in my food. Oh, and lastly, I threw out my scale. Yes, I did. I started to measure my diet success on how I felt, rather than what I weighed. In truth, if I was losing weight (which I did), it was easily noticeable from how I wore my clothes, and the healthier foods that I ate, made me feel better overall.
With the growing number of kids becoming obese at very young ages nowadays, it saddens me that so many young lives are starting out with poor nutritional upbringings. Some would classify as food being the new addiction and many kids are starting out disadvantaged with improper eating habits at such young ages; it will be difficult to battle the war against obesity as they grow into adults. Of course, it’s a combination of poor family eating habits, driven by a busy lifestyle of moms and dads, who for the most part, I’m sure they are doing the best that they can to feed their kids properly. I remember when my mom worked on a Saturday, and Dad was in charge of the meal. We either had a TV dinner, Stouffer’s Chilli, or on the odd occasion, we were treated to a Happy Meal at McDonald’s. Fast forward to 2014, and I can only assume there are more Saturdays in a week than one family would like. Everyone is on the run. Yes, life in 2014 is much faster now than it was back in 1978, and there is a whole new world in terms of fast food to choose from.
It’s not just kids. It’s adults as well. I don’t know if you notice, but do you see a lot of tired people when you are out and about? I ride the subway every day, and I see people who look beat. They are tired, sleepy, some look depressed. While I realize people are working harder nowadays to support their families, most likely sitting much more at a desk than they should, are we all feeding ourselves with proper foods to give us the energy we need? I definitely say no on this one.
It’s difficult to make good choices. Even when we think we are making good ones, many of them are bad. When I opt for soup at my work cafeteria, I really don’t know what all the ingredients are put into it. Looks like a healthy meal for lunch but who knows how much sodium is loaded inside. There is so much info out there from companies that tell us how great certain foods are and when we look at their advertising, we see so many happy, healthy faces, how can we not believe the hype? More money is put into marketing a product, than likely the quality of ingredients in the product itself. If we go to a grocery store, there are aisles and aisles of pre packaged foods to choose from. Which one is really healthy? There is some good products out there, so how do we decipher the good from the bad?
How do we protect ourselves and choose wisely? In the next blog, I will highlight a few common things you may have in your cupboard, that perhaps you didn’t realize.
Please join me in this discussion about eating healthy. I’d love to hear your thoughts and in turn share in this conversation.