Well, first of all, please, please double check everything I recommend, because questioning is a good quality to have. Never believe anything blindly....
I am not an expert and am only writing about the changes I have made, based on my own reading and research. They have worked for me. You will find in the course of your research that there are conflicting opinions on almost EVERYTHING out there. At a certain point, I had to stop just doing the research and just start taking action with what seemed to be the best choice. I have tried to stay up to date and when new information comes out either assimilate it into my diet or change my diet to fit new data.
Two and a half years ago I was a size 14/16. I weighed 178 pounds. I could not run two laps without having to stop, out of breath.
My BMI (Body Mass Index- ratio of fat to muscle) was 29.8 % (see chart below--- I was almost considered class 1 obese).
|Category||BMI range – kg/m2||BMI Prime|
|Very severely underweight||less than 15||less than 0.60|
|Severely underweight||from 15.0 to 16.0||from 0.60 to 0.64|
|Underweight||from 16.0 to 18.5||from 0.64 to 0.74|
|Normal (healthy weight)||from 18.5 to 25||from 0.74 to 1.0|
|Overweight||from 25 to 30||from 1.0 to 1.2|
|Obese Class I (Moderately obese)||from 30 to 35||from 1.2 to 1.4|
|Obese Class II (Severely obese)||from 35 to 40||from 1.4 to 1.5|
|Obese Class III (Very severely obese)||over 40||over 1.5|
Now I weigh in at 137 (and weight is NOT the be all-- end all!). I am a size 4. My BMI is 23.6. I can run for 45 minutes without stopping and could probably run longer, but who the hell wants to besides pro athletes and people being chased by vicious animals. (Kidding....)
My blood pressure is 107/72. (Healthy is considered 120/80 or below).
I guess what I'm trying to say is physically, I have changed. Mentally, I have also changed along with my physical self. It is inevitable that your mental/emotional health will progress as you make positive changes in your diet and exercise routine. So the advice I give you has worked for me...take that with a grain of salt :)
Getting back to today's discussion:
There is no doubt in my mind that the "American" culture has created a "fat" and "unhealthy" nation of people...
We are an instant gratification society. We eat to the point that we feel like we could burst, we drink to get drunk, and the foods and beverages we are eating to excess is killing us from the inside out.
We are a culture of pleasures and we eat and drink for pleasure. Proof of this comes from all the choices we have... How many cereals does a human being really need to choose from?
We need to change how we think about food and how we think about our bodies.
Today, I'd like to explain how I feel about food and my body.
My body is a temple. It is NOT who I am. That is inside me: my spirit, my personality is part of that. But my body is my vehicle. And like a vehicle, it needs maintenance and it needs to be driven properly.
Food is the fuel for this body and the cleaner the fuel, the better it's going to run. This does not mean you have to eat like a rabbit, nor does it mean you can't have a glass of wine or a beer. But moderation is key.
Today's food focus is breakfast....
1. You should eat breakfast! I can not eat when I first wake up (it would make me want to vomit), so I eat breakfast around 9:30 am, when I get a break at school.
2. Breakfast bars are NOT good for you. Most cereals also pretty much suck at life. Sorry to be the herald of that news. Look at the ingredients on the label. The order of the ingredients is in order of the quantity. Almost all cereals I looked at when I first changed my eating habits listed High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) as one of the first four ingredients. BAD. Anything with HFCS should be avoided. One cereal I found that did not have HFCS is All~Bran Bran Buds. Not the most delicious alone, but you can add nuts, honey, blueberries, pecans etc....
3. I eat oatmeal (almost) every day during the school year. I also eat a banana/some other fruit about an hour later almost every day (bananas have more sugars but they are very good for you and they keep me fuller longer).
A few people messaged me about oatmeal, wondering if one type (i.e. steel cut) is better than another. I did some research and what I found out was that the only type you should avoid is the individually packaged type with the added fruits and sweeteners (i.e. oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon). Steel cut oats versus quick oats versus regular oats -- the difference is only in the cut of the oatmeal. As long as the label says, "100% whole grain oats" then you're fine. I buy mine at Aldi where they are cheapest. I add honey to my oatmeal. I also add either walnuts or pecans. Sometimes I put some almond or soy milk in. I measure my oatmeal too. I literally just leave the half cup measuring cup in the container. I microwave the water, then throw in the oats, then microwave it again just to be sure the oats are cooked through. If they are too thick, just add a little more water and stir.
Oatmeal is a way better alternative in terms of health. Take a look at oatmeal versus Raisin Bran:
Oatmeal Raisin Bran
Serving Size 1/2 cup 1 cup
Calories 150 cals 200 cals
*Total Carbs 19 carbs 37 carbs
Sugars less than 1 21 grams
Protein 5 grams 4 grams
Fibers (all) 8 grams 6 grams
*after fiber is subtracted
While oatmeal's serving size is only 1/2 cup vs the raisin bran's 1 cup, the oatmeal is DRY and when you add water, it expands.
I sometimes am in a rush and do eat packaged food for breakfast. In that case I have eaten the 100 calorie thin crisp Kellog's breakfast bars. Just remember that doing something packaged should be in moderation and the exception, not the rule.
I do like having eggs sometimes for breakfast if I'm home. A medium egg has about 70 calories. I eat two eggs with two slices of the Sara Lee bread (35 calories per slice). I use real butter over margarine. It has more calories but it actually "healthier" for you.
The last piece of advice I would give you is about coffee. All the research I have done shows that coffee is actually good for you. Not loaded with sweeteners and cream, but the blacker you can drink it, the better.
I personally am a bit of a coffee tramp. I still like my light and sweet, with some cream and sugar. Maybe that can be my next battle.
Please feel free to share, ask questions, or comment. I appreciate your ideas and feedback.