After visiting my parents this weekend, I realize how differently I eat now versus a couple of years ago. I am sometimes hard on myself when I feel that I eat one whole wheat english muffin too many, but for the most part, my diet is drastically different from most people I know. I have a rule that I don’t keep any junk food in my house. Zero! Because, if it’s there, I will eat it. That’s just how it goes. So my fridge is usually stocked with plenty of vegetables, some fruit, lots and lots of lean protein (I usually keep 8-12 dozen eggs and 5 bags of frozen chicked stocked up on a regular basis), miracle noodles and lots of wheat bran and oatmeal. Of course, there are plenty of other items, but these are the major items. I workout every day, although I’ve been hard on myself lately because I haven’t been getting up early every morning like I used too, but I still get to the gym – every day.
I’m proud that I’ve also been able to maintain my weight pretty well without too much thought. Since being home in Massachusetts with my family, I realize that my family, on a regular basis, eats way too much bread, cereal, milk, sugar, rice, and other simple carbs even though they think they are eating healthy. Most of my family is overweight, not obese, but above the “normal healthy” range. They do try and I am happy that they at least make an effort to eat healthy. My dad eats oatmeal every morning, loves his fish and tries to get up early and walk or workout on the bike. My mom can’t sit still. She’s always moving around and she cooks for my family every night. She tries to incorporate healthy items like skim milk and margarine (which I can’t seem to convince her is worse then regular butter), but even she needs a little more education. And I love (not!) how she lectures me on which foods are healthy and that I need to incorporate in my diet. Moms will always be moms! I let her do it, even though she likes to treat me when I visit by buying my favorite Milano chocolate cookies. And she still can’t seem to shake her nightly cup of Friendly’s ice cream.
But, I do realize that my family’s diet is closer to the norm than I realize. They think I am the extreme. Well, everyone except my friends who are fitness/figure competitors, think my lifestyle is “extreme”, but put into perspective, it really is not. If you look back 3o or 4o years ago, the American population ate much less and were much more active. They ate more vegetables, lean proteins and got a lot more daily activity than we do now. Today’s society is way too sedentary and we eat too much food. Even the so-called healthy food we eat should be measured and eaten in moderation. I don’t think people realize that. Yes, a 100% whole grain piece of bread is healthy, but you need to factor in the calories in your daily diet. Yes, maybe a glass of red wine can be healthy – but in moderation. That recent study that came out that women who drank red wine in moderation weighed less than those that did not, really irritated me. Why don’t you ask the people who are experts on fat loss what they do. You will not find many (if any at all) figure competitors or bodybuilders that drink alcohol. Period! They seem to know how to get and stay pretty lean, but what the heck! Some random study seems to peak everyone’s interest so much more. And recently, my doctor asked me what I do to keep my cholesterol at such a healthy level. He said that I have one of the best HGL cholesterol levels he’s ever seen and he was convinced that I must drink red wine. Nope – hardly ever. And it’s not genetic, most of my family has high (unhealthy cholesterol), so it’s mostly my lifestyle choices. (Okay, rant over…)
Don’t get me wrong. I like to eat and I eat a lot. I’ve just learned which foods I can eat in extreme quantities and which I can’t. Steamed or raw green veggies, I can eat as much as I want. It’s not unusal for me to eat 5-6 steamed zucchinis in one meal or add an entire bag romaine lettuce to my dinner salad. I’ve eaten a HUGE serving bowl of wheat bran without gaining an ounce (Well… after nature takes it’s course ). I won’t gain weight eating these foods because they are very low calorie and/or high fiber. It’s the little tricks I’ve learned along the way that help me keep my weight in check.
And salt? Don’t get me started. I taste salt in everything. My body is extremely salt sensitive and I will retain water in a second if there is too much sodium in anything, so I monitor my salt intake vigorously. I almost could not eat the dip my sister made last night because I could taste the high levels of salt. She assured me that she didn’t add any extra salt to the dish, but I just could taste that something in that dish had a very, very high salt content. And yes – the hot sauce and the ranch dressing she used had a high sodium content. My legs are itching and really swollen from the extra water my legs are holding onto because of the salt. Ouch! I’ll have to get to the gym and do the stepmill or go into the sauna to sweat out the extra salt. On the other hand, my body also loses salt quickly so I have to be careful to maintain the right balance. You can read more about salt sensitivity here. http://www.healthandage.com/Some-are-more-sensitive-to-salt-than-others
And water – I aim for one gallon every day. I get extremely thirsty if I don’t drink enough. And I love my green tea – probably 2-3 cups every day. Coffee is slowly, but surely, losing it’s hold on me.
I am looking forward to getting home and back on my typical diet. I never really think my diet is perfect, but it’s moments like this that make me realize that I am doing well and making healthy choices. It’s great that I don’t even really think about it – I just do it.