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Posts Tagged ‘calories’

What exactly am I doing?

I have been asked this question by several people.  Am I following a program?  Am I on a diet?  Did I get a book?  Am I on Weight Watchers?  The answer to all these is no, I am not.  In case you have not yet read, my first post documents why I have changed how I eat.  In short, I must eat 30 to 40 grams of fiber a day, and consume 80 ounces of water.  I also must eat low fat, fat free, lean, and healthy foods instead of unhealthy foods from now on.

No program, just those orders from my doctor, and to be honest, he’s right.  I had gained fifteen pounds since March because of the foods I had been eating.  I know they weren’t healthy, but I ate them anyway.  Knowing that I had to start eating healthy foods, I needed to learn what foods were good for me and why.  I also had no clue which foods had the most fiber.

I’ve always been aware that diet plans and fad diets often make you limit certain foods.  It is true that many foods have additives, preservatives, imitation sweeteners, man-made sweeteners, and extra sodium that your body doesn’t need.  There are also certain things found in healthy foods that your body does need.  The truth is that everyone needs protein, fats (good ones), carbs, sugars, fiber, and vitamins.  The key is to learn about those daily recommended percentages so that you can know what your body needs.    As an example, our body even needs calories!

Calories are not bad for you if you allow them to do their job.  Calories help give us energy and they help enforce good cellular function, if the right amount is consumed each day.  If you consume too many calories, the calories you have left over turn into fat.  The amount of calories a person needs to consume varies depending on your lifestyle’s activity level.  A marathon runner would need more calories than a person who only mildly works out for thirty minutes a few times a week.

Most diets and fad diets mention something about cutting calories.  If a person consumes too much calories, then yes, they need to cut back on calories.  Trying to eliminate too many calories, however, can cause serious problems and send your body into starvation mode.

Above is just an example of one reason why I am not on a diet plan or following a program.  Knowing the suggestions from my doctor, I have a lot of foods that I can eat.  I just have to learn what they are and what I can do with them.  This involves some serious research, creativity, and trial and error.

One of the greatest resources for me is other healthy living blogs.  These people have tons of recipes, and they have great food tips on what’s good or bad for you.  Another good item of note about healthy living bloggers is most of them have at one point been unhealthy eaters just like me.  They offer good advice for people starting to live healthy, and if they have perfected some of their own recipes, you can try them out knowing that there’s already someone else who has gone through the trial and error process.  Also, if they’re listed, they are usually really good!

Another great resource is simply learning about healthy foods.  The Mayo Clinic states that the average person needs between 25 and 40 grams of fiber daily.  Most people don’t consume the daily recommended amount.  My amount is higher because I have digestive problems.  There are several websites that list fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains, and the amounts of fiber in these foods.  Here is a good one.  Meats are good for you, too!  We choose to eat 93% lean ground beef in our house if we eat red meat.  We also eat a lot of chicken.  Baking, broiling, and sauteing are great and tasty options if you’re looking to go healthy.

One of the best pieces of advice I can give you personally is to read labels.  Labels, labels, labels.  Food companies can’t lie on them.  You will see what ingredients are in the food item as well as nutrition information.  If it has way too much sodium, your best bet is it’s not healthy.  If it’s high fiber, go for it!  You get my drift.  Labels are a great way for you to find foods that are good for you.

When you have your stash of healthy foods, then it’s time to experiment!  Here is one of ours from last night:

Brown rice, boneless skinless chicken breasts, and red and yellow sweet peppers.  Scott put a little bit of fat free chicken broth in with the rice, chopped the chicken into big chunks, and sliced the peppers.  He used a little bit of olive oil and Lawry’s to sautee the chicken and peppers.  Then he put them together:

This had awesome flavor and reminded me of stir fry.  Here is how I had the leftovers for lunch – in a whole grain tortilla with blueberries (+leftover cereal from my ride to work – I got full) and pomegranate Greek yogurt:

There you have it.  I wish I could say I’m doing something as “simple” as a program, but I’m not.  I’m learning as I go, and I think it’s great.  I’m not limited by the kinds of food I can eat since I’m not eating what my body doesn’t need.  Putting it in that perspective has helped me a lot.  There are tons, and I mean tons, of food that is good for your body and nutritious, and there are even more ways than that to prepare and enjoy them.  If you would like to know more about the resources I have found, please visit the “contact me” tab at the top of this page.

Thanks to all of my readers – let me know you’re reading!  I would love to hear from you!

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