What I've Learned About Myself - And Changed - With Spark

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A few days ago there was a Spark Newsletter that talked about cleaning out the 'evil' things in your pantry and refrigerator. It really made me think about how Spark fits into my life, and about what I can change, what I have changed, what I'm not willing to change, and the importance of gradual change.

If you want to lose weight, you have to change your lifestyle. It's not about dieting - all we Spark folks know that. You need to reduce your caloric intake, and increase your activity. It's that simple. The benefits can be a better appearance, more energy to enjoy life, better health - and the health part is so important. Something that a lot of 'diets' really don't promote, amazingly enough.

In the last few months, I've conquered high cholesterol through my rather lackadaisical diet and exercise changes. My last test showed my 'good' cholesterol was too high for the test to measure. My doctor said I'm only the 5th person he's ever tested who has had that result. A round of applause for my great-great grandparents!!!! My blood pressure, which had elevated suddenly and rapidly over the previous year (and no weight gain) to the 200/100 range (yeah, I know, stroke zone) is now controlled through medication. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of one of the medications is to make me sometimes feel weak and tired. But overall, I'm in much better shape from a medical standpoint than I was a year ago.

The article in question was, "Where is Danger Lurking in Your Kitchen?"

* Throw out: Thick dressings, white rice, creamers, white pasta, chips, dip, soda, mayonnaise, pudding and just say no to Twinkies!
* Keep: Vinaigrettes [sic], spinach, nuts, sweet potatoes, whole wheat pasta, grain rice, tomatoes, oatmeal, carrots, salsa, yogurt, mustard, natural applesauce.
* Put on probation (if they become a problem, get a substitute): High-fat cheese, whole milk, butter, ice cream, eggs, cooking oil, beef.

My issue with this list is that if I am changing my lifestyle, what I can really LIVE with for the rest of my life? Will I never eat Marie's Blue Cheese dressing or eat a steak again? While that might be a reasonable choice for some people, it's not for me. I don't keep creamers, chips, dip, soda, or Twinkies on hand - never did, even when my kids were young. I buy sugar-free puddings because my husband is diabetic and he really enjoys having one for his afternoon snack. I DO have all the 'Keep' items on hand - I always have. As for the 'probation' list, most of those things will always be in my house, with the occasional whole milk and ice cream, the latter generally for company and the occasional piece of homemade pie with a small scoop.

I bought 'lite' mayo - used it once and gagged - threw it out. I'd rather eat dry tuna than put that in tuna salad. Quite simply, I won't buy - or eat - 'fake' food. I've also noticed that clipping coupons is an exercise in futility for me - if there's a coupon for it, I probably don't buy it. I buy 'whole' foods, and that's what I cook with and that's what we eat.

What I have changed - portion control. Increased activity. Although its been a real challenge for me, I've quit eating ANYTHING between dinner and bedtime. I can't say the pounds are melting off, but I feel better and my medical profile looks better. I've met a lot of great people along the way, and look forward to logging into Spark and keeping up with their lives.

Oh, and I really love my Wii. :)

Smooches, and good luck on your journeys, wherever they lead you.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'm with you about the coupons. They aren't for the fresh food - most of them are for highly processed foods.

    I have wii envy!

    3017 days ago
    I tend to keep the blue cheese dressing out of the house and eat it as a treat when I go out to dinner. Otherwise, if I am being careful about my food intake, it would spoil before it would get all used. That said, I am in total agreement that there are no natural foods that are bad per se - it's all in the portions and frequency!
    3024 days ago
    Your blogs are always good that is why I have missed them so much this summer! glad that your health has improved It is all we really have that is important. so it is good to learn all we can about healthy living. You are such a fantastic cook no wonder you can't stand all that fake stuff... while I on the other hand am a crappy cook and live for the substitutes, LOL Have a healthy Fall season, canning and freezing and preserving all those natural foods! emoticon
    3029 days ago
    Good blog, Rooby. My general rule is to steer clear of any food that is a product of a science lab.

    Good quality, naturally produced food is so flavourful without being mucked about and is so much more satisfying both for body and soul, therefore helping me to stick to the less is more rule. Erm...... surely that's the way our ancestors used to eat before all this technological progress malarky.

    If I send you my rhubarb will you send me your blueberries?! The best food of all is the free stuff!

    3031 days ago
  • CKAYT56
    Thanks for the info on the article. I will have to take a look at it. I still have a couple of those things in my pantry. I have gotten rid of or have quit buying many things. I have been able to stop taking cholesterol meds because of how SP has helped me....well and I will give a little credit to myself for sticking with the program! Good Blog ROOBY!

    3031 days ago
    Real food is the way to go, no doubt. I love fresh fruits and veggies, and eat my fill of these as they go in and out of season.

    If we feel deprived, a binge is just around the corner. I prevent this by knowing I can carb load if I feel like I need to; a cheat meal just around the corner is a happy thought!

    But I have a very tight diet right now (meaning diet, as in what you eat, not "a diet", like the latest fad from the magazines by the checkout at the store). This will change, and has to, as I approach goal weight, which is less than 10 lb. away for me.

    Cheers to you for focusing on your health and not succumbing to fads and going the slow and sure route.
    3031 days ago
    I don't believe any foods are actually "evil." There are some that ought to be marked with a surgeon general's warning though. And I really believe the reason so many people get into trouble with their weight is simply we eat too much in the way of rich foods.
    My theory is that we are still cavemen (cavepersons?) who are programmed for "feast or famine." In North America and much of Europe, it's a continual feast. (But if we keep treating Mother Earth the way we do, soon we'll see the flip side of that.)

    3031 days ago
    I agree there a certain things I will continue with, but in moderation and never have soda or sweet processed foods in the pantry.
    3031 days ago

    And I say it loud, say it proud! Cookies need butter in them, not margarine. Ditto for most other baked goods.

    Other than dairy products and meat, I have drastically cut down on the foods that Food Nazis warn me about. I am happier for it. (Note that I've said "cut DOWN;" not "cut OUT.")

    Moderation in all things--including moderation itself.
    3031 days ago
  • SCOOTER4263
    Well, I'm hanging onto my white pasta (although I almost always use the whole wheat. And I've found that I prefer tinkering with recipes and getting used to flavors that are not as sweet, rather than using artificial sweeteners - I like honey and agave or rice syrup, as they have a more intense natural sweetness.

    I also love my "real" mayo (Hellman's), but I've found that if I mix it in equal proportions with 0% fat yogurt (Fage Greek), it makes a wonderful salad dressing and sandwich spread and brings the calorie and fat counts into acceptable range.

    I"m with you - the designation of particular foods as "evil" is silly and counterproductive.
    3031 days ago
  • JANENE413
    I always like your sensible, common sense approach to living. And that's what we're doing--LIVING! I grew up on a farm. We had chickens and dairy cattle--hence eggs, milk, butter, and a freezer full of beef. My doctor always asks if I'm omitting these things from my life. I always hedge on answering that one. Having now had a wonderful check up because of SP, I say no, I still eat them in moderation. I cook with olive oil much of the time, but there is no substitute for real, live butter. Food is not evil. We just need to be aware that everything is a choice. Food is a gift to enjoy.

    --like I sure enjoy your blogs! Thanks!

    emoticon emoticon

    3032 days ago
    Great blog - and yes, it is a lifestyle change, and yes, we have to live with it our whole lives, so it has to be bearable (and bring us SOME joy!). I personally can totally live with diet dressing and light mayo, but I CANNOT give up chocolate. So, I am practicing moderation (which I have noticed is what "naturally" thin people do!). Glad to hear your health is so improved, congrats!
    3032 days ago
    They'll have to pry the butter out of my cold dead hands but since my doctor says I have "ridiculously low cholesterol" I'm not too worried about it. I buy the extra healthy fat eggs because of my kidlet and mostly only use them to feed her and for baking so I'm not too worried about that either. I used to always buy, and prefered, skim milk but now, with the kidlet, I can't justify buying an extra container of milk just for me and pouring most of it down the drain so I'm on 2%. I eat cereal with a cup of it maybe a couple times a week so I'm not too worried about that either. I think it's good for us having a small child in the household we're both committed to feeding properly.

    Good post. : )
    3032 days ago
  • LLEWIS6879
    I agree completely about the "fake food." I will not, cannot eat low fat, fat free salad dressing or mayo (Sam I Am...)I just eat less of the real thing.
    And you'll have to pry my coffeemate Sugar free vanilla creamer from my cold dead hands (although the argument could be made that that is a "fake" food... I just don't care...)

    The "fat" stuff is not my problem. The "sweet" stuff is my problem.
    But I really don't like the designation of some foods as "evil." That's "diet" mentality. No good.
    Congratulations on your wonderful success. Yours is one of the pages I most enjoy visiting!
    3032 days ago
    Darn tootin' Rooby! I still own Pop-Tarts. They've been in there for months. I have one once or twice a month when I just gotta.

    3032 days ago
    I like your perspective on the changes we make or don't make in our quest to be healthy and lose weight. We can chose to change many things that improve our health, some is just common sense. But some things we are not willing to forsake because we don't like the alternative. I refuse to eat something low fat or non fat if it taste yuck. It has to pass the taste test. Also I do consider others in my household who don't eat the "healthy" options. Like you wrote, portion control is key to my success thus far. Best wishes on the rest of the journey. It does not matter how soon you reach your destination, but that you stay on the path and reach the end.
    3032 days ago
    I know what you mean there are changes I am willing to make and changes I am not ,I have enough limitations that I can't control from an accident .I still think your attitude is the best slow and steady wins the race!!!
    3032 days ago
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