Eating better and feeling better
Sunday, May 23, 2010
My progress with nutrition tracking was interrupted by a huge move across the country, preceded by months of house-hunting and the travel that entailed, and so I fell off the wagon for a year (!) as far as my food intake. Since my first day at Spark People I have faithfully drank at least eight glasses of water, even when my nutrition suffered, and I believe that helped me to maintain my weight rather than gain back what I had lost. During my hiatus I also continued to read Spark People articles and save recipes that sounded good, knowing that eventually I would get serious about allowing Spark People to help me help myself to a healthier lifestyle. In the meantime I still felt crummy and lacked energy, even as I made changes to my diet such as cutting out artificially sweetened or flavored foods. Between my lethargy and bad back I had a terrible time getting settled into our new home.
Last fall I began to forego margarine in favor of butter (in small quantities) and sugar in favor of honey whenever possible, although I gave in frequently to my craving for desserts when dining out or visiting friends. Since I returned to counting calories and nutrition using the Spark People tracker on March 20th I have cut out all sugary sweets and use only two teaspoons of sugar in my one cup of coffee each morning. Due to the close tabs I am keeping on my calorie intake I rarely consume honey these days. Cutting nearly all sugar from my diet has made a huge difference in how I feel; I have more energy and more of a sense of well-being than I had before. I am less sedentary and more eager to do things, to jump up and do dishes or fetch something from the car or pick up and put away items, etc. It's a good feeling, a feeling worth giving up sweets other than fruit.
Since March 20th I have been trying hard to stay within my allotted calories and to keep my protein intake fairly high yet fats and carbs low. I do my best to eat at least five servings of vegetables and fruit a day and I eat only high quality multigrain bread. We have our own free-range laying hens that provide us with nourishing eggs with deep golden yolks and nearly every morning I eat one of these eggs for breakfast. I can really tell the difference in how I feel; the more protein and less fat and carbohydrates the better I feel.
Even my back is better these days. I still get spasms and pain too frequently, particularly when sitting on a hard surface, but the inflammation that would invariably set in and put me out of commission for days at a time has decreased considerably. I am hoping that as I continue to eat well and lose weight I will be able to exercise without worrying about hurting my back and going through the agony that has plagued me for many years. I am trying to walk several times a week and find that I feel more energetic now when walking than I used to, more eager to walk farther and more quickly, with a spring in my step.
Using the nutrition tracker can be a pain at times because I find that I have to enter so many foods in order to use it the way I want to use it, but I don't know what I would do without it. It is addictive and very effective at making me accountable for what I ingest. It gives me good feedback, printable reports and meal suggestions. It is one of my favorite features on Spark People and I look forward to eating well so that I please the nutrition tracker gods. I hope to soon add an exercise plan that will be as addictive and effective as the nutrition tracker. Spark People , in the words of Jack Nicholson (As Good As It Gets), makes me want to be a better person.