Discoveries about food on our journey to a healthier lifestyle
Friday, August 03, 2012
Prior to beginning our journey to a healthier lifestyle, we ate good, nutritious, healthy food. For many years, I started my day with a bowl of oatmeal, packed my own lunch which usually included a salad or a sandwich with whole grain bread and usually some fresh or frozen fruit with yogurt, and our evening meal would be homemade, usually with a lean meat, potatoes or rice, vegetables, bread, and fruit. I would snack on at least 2 pieces of fruit during the day and often would also eat nuts and other healthy snacks. It made sense, it included a lot of good, healthy food, but if I exercised more, recorded how many steps I got in during the day, it didn't seem to make a difference, I had a hard time losing weight or maintaining if I lost weight. As a male at 6'6", I needed fuel to keep my body going.
So what did I learn that made the difference. First of all, breakfast, I did make a good and healthy breakfast, it was oatmeal, cooked in skim milk, I would include honey or raisins or dried cranberries or nuts, and flax seed. I would also have orange juice and coffee. The first and simplest change I made was cooking my oatmeal in water, cutting out the honey, most of the time, and using Almond milk instead of skim milk. I cut out about 100 calories from my breakfast alone. Now I average about 400 calories for breakfast.
Lunch, what could be healthier than a salad? Well I found out, it all depends on what you put on it. I would include tomatoes, broccoli, sometimes fruit, I love adding avocado and nuts. The avocado and nuts have good fat, so they should be good, right. What I found out was at 9 calories per gram of fat, yes the avocado and nuts are healthy, but also very calorie dense. I would put a half an avocado in my salad and if I included nuts and cheese, and a low fat dressing. If I had a 1/2 cup of vanilla along with my fruit, my lunch was probably in the 600 to 750 calorie range. Now I use non fat yogurt, make sure I use only 1/4 an avocado at the most, and make sure I add nuts when I don't have the avocado, and most of the time, skip the cheese, or stick to a small amount of very flavorful cheese. Now my lunch is generally about 450-500 calories. Now with 1-2 fruit as snacks, I have about 1000-1200 calories before dinner.
Dinner has probably been the biggest change we have made. I have almost totally cut out bread, we have cut back on meat, even lean meat, and have tried to make better choices by having meatless meals 3-4 times a week. We have gotten much better at portion control, sometimes making sure we have the measuring cup and scale at the table so that Dinner is about 600-800 calories, rather than 1200-1500 which it probably was before.
We have learned to add flavor, add foods that help make us full and my wife and I have each lost about 50 pounds. Food was not the problem, but learning about and making sure we made better choices about what and more importantly how much we eat, PORTION CONTROL.