Getting older I guess means getting wiser. After having two beautiful babies in my 20’s, being part of the cause for my putting on an extra 15 pounds, the big 3-0 is now only a few weeks away. I wouldn’t say I’ve lost my girlish figure, there’s been a couple of additions here (thighs) and there (a new muffin top). Winding down from the full-out pigfest of pregnancy and breastfeeding took some time and self-regulation, it all comes down to making healthier choices.
Choosing proper foods does get easier with preparation, practise, and perseverance. The three P’s towards a healthier lifestyle.
Knowledge is always the best way to prepare yourself. Here’s some examples of calorie counts to get you thinking about what you have been eating:
- McD’s Big Mac… 590 calories 34 grams of fat (1)
- McD’s Chicken sandwich… 450 calories 18 grams of fat (1)
- BK Whopper® … 680 calories 39 grams of fat (1)
- Arby’s® Turkey Club Salad… 350 calories 21 grams of fat (1)
- Pizza Hut® Veggie pizza, 1 slice… 220 calories 8 grams of fat (1)
- Taco Bell® Taco Salad… 850 calories 52 grams of fat (1)
- KFC® Original Chicken Sandwich… 400 calories 24 grams of fat (1)
Surprised? You should be.
If you are trying to lose weight, or maintain your current jean size the formula is simple. Consume fewer calories than you burn in a day, drink plenty of water, and eat smaller frequent meals (no longer than 3 hours between meals).
My problem is the burning of the calories. I hardly have any time to devote to actual exercise. It would take 3 hours of walking (2) just to burn off that 850 calorie Taco Salad! Also keep in mind 1,500 milligrams of sodium is the maximum daily intake recommended by the American Heart Association, many fast foods, packaged goods, and resturant meals contain elevated levels of sodium.
Make a list of fruits and vegetables you already like to eat, have your list ready for grocery shopping. It’s rare that I buy cookies from a store, home-made treats taste better and I know what’s in them – no preservatives or excess salt. My kids love my cookies and I wouldn’t want it any different.
Here is the hard part, putting your plans into action.
Go buy those fruits and veggies, if you can, at your nearest farmer’s market or CSA. If your part of the planet doesn’t have a market, seek out organic produce at the super market. Take a moment to read the labels of foods. Each time you run out of a staple item, look at the different options presented at the store, compare the labels and read those ingredients! I just bought some light margarine spread and read the ingredients after it was already home (this was to support my argument of why butter is natural and better than the tub of margarine). There must have been 15 or more ingredients printed on the plastic tub, while butter contains milk, that’s it. Just milk.
Stop using your zombie brain to make choices for you, there are alternatives if you pause while frantically shopping with two screaming children strapped to the shopping cart. (Yes, I’m the one with the loud 5-year-old at the end of the aisle.)
Habits are hard to avoid and will tend to creep back into your routine while you’re not looking.
I’ve tried to give up one of my worst vices from pregnancy: ice cream. I will admit there is a pint container of Java Chip in my freezer at this very moment, and that half of it disappeared last night. Don’t fret over a small lapse in health consciousness. I plan to have a crisp romaine salad for dinner tonight to offset that bowl of vice cream.
You won’t change all of your eating mannerisms overnight, but you have to start somewhere. Be mindful of the foods presented to you and keep that monster in your belly at bay with a few healthy snacks (an apple, a papaya smoothie, green tea, handful of nuts or dried fruit). Boost your calorie usage by parking at the far end of every parking lot you use. Walk to the store if it’s within a reasonable distance of your home, and you are comfortable with the amount of walking it will take to get there and back. Bring a backpack to store your purchased goods – you will think lighter when you have to carry it all home and will tend to only buy what you need.
(1) Referenced from Atkins® Comprehensive carb counter booklet – free when you join the website.
(2) Calorie Calculator at freedieting.com