I thought I would start with some of the nutritional changes I made on my journey towards better health. I will be featuring three other posts on the topics of changes that include physical activity, stress management, and emotional health in upcoming posts. Before I get into that, I want to point out that these are the things that worked for me and won’t necessarily work for everyone. I have a strong belief that each of us need to find healthy eating plans that work for us and that it is not a one plan works for all kind of thing.
Continuing on…. I will give you an overview of what I was doing prior to starting, what I started out doing, what tweaks I made along the way, what I currently am doing, and key learning points. Feel free to ask me any questions if something isn’t clear or you want more detail about something.
- Prior to Starting: Before I made the commitment to work towards my better health journey nutritionally I was clueless as to what was healthy and what wasn’t. Basically I ate what I thought tasted good and I ate a lot of it. I also didn’t eat for long stretches of time and would then eat a whole bunch in one sitting. I ate a lot of fast food, prepackaged meals, and hardly any whole foods.
- What I Started Out Doing: I started out following the South Beach Diet. This was a good program for me to start with because it had structure to it. I liked the fact that I didn’t have to count calories because I had found in the past that made me feel a little crazy about food. It was my stepping stone into finding that I liked to learn about how food works in the body and other concepts of nutrition. I followed the plan very to the letter until I had lost about 60lbs. I was eating 6 times a day and was following their recommendations for how to structure meals and snacks and what serving sizes where.
- Tweaks I made along the way: Like I mentioned above I followed the South Beach Diet for the first 60lbs I lost. As I started learning more about nutrition, through reading everything and anything nutrition related, I started to wonder if the reduced level of carbohydrates was really healthy. Also, my fitness level had increased to the point where I was starting to have symptoms of early muscle fatigue because of lack of adequate carbohydrate replenishment between workouts. So I started to cut back a bit on the amount of protein I was consuming and added in additional servings of whole and minimally refined sources of carbohydrates. This took a bit of experimenting to find a balance that worked for me but eventually I figured it out. During the experimenting period the weight loss part of my journey stalled out a bit but it was a very important part of the journey because I actually learned what exactly works for my body.
- What I’m doing now: Well I’m eating 6 times a day still, which I love because I rarely feel like I’m starving. I strive to find balance in each meal I have and use snacks to fill in the rest. I balance my main meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) to include a lean protein source, either a whole grain or starchy vegetable serving, at least one serving of non-starchy vegetables, and either a serving of dairy or a serving of fruit. I still don’t count calories really but I do pay attention a little more than I did to start with. For example, I make snack selections that clock in between 100 -200 calories. I also know overall that breakfast clocks in as my highest calorie meal, followed by lunch, and then dinner. But to give you what my calorie intake is each day is not something I can do off the top of my head. As far as what I’m eating I try to eat mostly whole foods, avoid added sugars, avoid overly processed products, avoid trans-fats, watch my sodium intake, eat many servings of veggies and fruits a day, get at least 2 servings of nonfat or low fat dairy, and stick to lean protein sources both in the form of vegetarian choices and meats. I follow a 90-10 principle which means I eat how it is listed above no less then 90% of the time and the other 10% allows for occasional indulgences. A large majority of my food is stuff I cook myself but I do go out to eat occasionally. One of these days I’ll post what a typical day looks like to give you an idea of what my food intake looks like.
- Key Learning Points: I learned the following key things about nutrition that work for me:
- Eating 6 times a day. Having only a few hours between when I eat works really well at keeping me feeling satisfied all day long. I find I am rarely famished which makes it a lot easier to make rational and healthy choices.
- Balancing meals helps me feel satisfied and keeps me on track with proper nutrient intake.
- Experimenting, although slowed the weight loss part of the journey for some time, was an important process for me to learn how to trust my body to tell me what it needs. I still continue to experiment because I know as time goes on nutritional needs can change.
- I can have an occasional indulgence and not get thrown off my healthy path. I just jump right back to clean eating and go on with my day.
- Through the process I found passion for being creative with my cooking skills. I can cook some pretty awesome meals that even my friends who don’t eat the healthiest love.
Questions for you:
What does your healthy eating plan look like?
Do you experiment with your eating to find what works for you?
Is there a website or book you think I might want to check out?
Some random news to share with you while I have your attention. I received the steamer that I mentioned in my post here so get ready for me to post a review and run my first ever giveaway soon.
Also, I received in the mail today my giveaway win of VitaMuffins from over at Cranky Fitness .Once I get a chance to try them out I’ll review them for you here. Big thanks to the people over at Cranky Fitness and to VitaMuffins!
Quote of the Day:
“We must eat to live, and not live to eat.” ~ Henry Fieding