Posts Tagged ‘Eat This’

Resolutions, Part One

Resolution: per Webster’s Dictionary, states: “The act of resolving or determining upon an action, course of action, method, procedure, etc.”  With January here and almost halfway done(!), I decided that  for my next 3 Tuesday blogs, I’d focus on some resolutions I have made.

bbq

My first resolution began this past July.  I was at a bbq visiting with some Florissant friends, and one friend in particular, who looked fabulously fit, was happy to share with me how she had lost some excess weight and had been able to  keep it off for two years.  Her method was a low-carbohydrate way of eating, or low-carb, for short.  As I drove home to Rolla later that  evening, I decided that I had to do something about losing my excess weight.  I had had a health scare in November-December of 2013, where my vision in my left eye was dimmer, there was eye pain, a diagnosis of Optic Neuritis was declared and tests for Multiple Sclerosis were run, as Optic Neuritis is often a first symptom of MS.  The tests were negative and at the follow-up with the Neurologist, she kept asking me if Diabetes ran in my family’s health history.  I was able to tell her no, that it didn’t.  She then encouraged me to lose weight, even though my blood pressure and other vitals were in the normal ranges.

On that drive  home, I mulled over in my mind that it was time to get back to a normal weight for my 5’6″ height.  I had successfully lost 20 lbs on Weight Watchers 8 years previously.  Back then, Weight Watchers was  based on a points system.  Certain foods were assigned points and I was allotted to eat 24 points a day.  This system worked but when I had lost the 20 lbs., WW suddenly cut my daily points down to 20!  That came as a nasty surprise to me and I began to slack off of the program and gained back those 20 lbs and then some.  Ugh!

Mary Englebright Expectant Momma Illustration

Mary Englebright Expectant Momma Illustration

In my younger years, I was always a normal weight for my height.  Then, in 1991, motherhood arrived.  You know how James Bond, 007 Super Spy has a license to kill?  I took  my first pregnancy to mean that I had a license to eat!  With 6 more babies arriving, from 1994-2003, my weight kept creeping up.  Low-carb, from my friend’s descriptions of it, seemed like a good way to lose weight and my research began in earnest.

I went to the Atkins Diet website and read all about the program.  There weren’t points assigned to foods.  It was simply a matter of restricting carb laden foods.  The first two weeks were the most stringent of the plan and the second week of my new eating regime I found myself at camp, working as a volunteer, and facing high carb treats at every meal!  But I went to camp prepared, with nuts, flavored waters, and when on the mornings that breakfasts were pancakes or sausage gravy and biscuits, I stuck to eating almonds and drinking my coffee black!

After those first two strict weeks, I could begin to slowly add healthier carb items back in to my diet, and have been sticking to this way of eating since late July/early August.  I have lost 33 lbs and only have 20 more to go and then I’ll be in the healthy range for my height.  Thanksgiving and Christmas were full of carb heavy foods, but I planned accordingly, skipping some treats, letting myself have some of others, and I didn’t destroy my weight loss plans too badly.

It has been fun to give away larger-sized clothes that I can no longer wear to Goodwill. It’s been a pleasant surprise to fit back into smaller-sized clothes that I forgot I owned!  My snoring has stopped.   The compliments from a few individuals have been music to my ears.  I also inspired my parents to give low carb a try and they got nice and fit for their recent 50th Wedding Anniversary party!  My dear husband has also decided to embark on low carb, as he did it several years ago to much success, but then got away from it.  He and I both know that it is the maintenance of a low carb way of eating that is even more challenging than the losing of the weight.

One book I intend to read  is Gary Taube’s Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It.  Taube is a science writer and he decided to write a book exploring why we, Americans in particular, become fat? One of the most interesting facts in the book to me was that years ago, in America and Europe, if a patient went to his doctor for weight loss advice, the common answer was to cut one’s carbohydrate intake.  Shortly after World War II, that mindset in the medical community changed to the method we see today, lowfat, high carbs.  If one looks at the food pyramid that our own Federal Govenment plasters everywhere, it doesn’t fit a low carb model at all!

The Food Pyramid when following a Low Carb Eating Plan

The Food Pyramid when following a Low Carb Eating Plan

The Us Government's Food Pyramid-note the huge, suggested daily servings of high carb foods!

The Us Government’s Food Pyramid-note the huge, suggested daily servings of high carb foods!

 

While I have been on this low carb journey, I’ve learned to look at food labels very closely:specifically noting the serving sizes and carb contents, measured  in grams.  It is very shocking how high some food products are in carbs-especially juices, sodas, and even some of the “healthier” drinks on the market.  Even many of the gluten-free products on the shelves are still very high in carbohydrates.  My youngest, age 11, who loves the Eat This, Not That book series, likes to be my food label reader and  carb checker.  He has been amazed to note the high levels of carbs in some foods, too.   Our 16 year old, who is very tall and skinny and loves to run each day, has been my “Jiminy Crickett”-that conscious for Pinocchio in the Disney animated movie-asking me if sneaking a cookie is worth it, how many carbs are in it, etc.  I have also begun using an app, My Fitness Plan, as suggested to me by my 20 year old daughter.  This app has a handy log for keeping track of what I eat each day, a graph to show my weight losses so far, and I can even record my walks and other forms of exercise if I choose to do so.   It’s nice to have the family being supportive of my efforts to be healthier.

This, in a nutshell, is my first resolution, albeit begun in 2014, and so far, the journey to be healthier has not been too hard.  If you are wanting to lose weight, I heartily recommend reading about the low-carb method, and do check with your doctor beforehand, to see if it would be fine with him or her, and listen to any other advice that they may have to offer on getting healthier in 2015.

 

I’ve Created a Monster! Or Maybe a Future Dietician

Three years ago, our oldest daughter was a junior in high school and she was taking a class on child development.  One of the topics covered in the class was a unit on nutrition.  She had to write a report for the class and since our family loves the library, off we drove to the Jamestown Branch of the St. Louis County Library.   As our daughter was perusing the stacks she found a unique book to use in her research towards her paper.  It wasn’t a large book, just a simple paperback in an exact square shape, probably 7 in. by 7 in.  The book was colorful, as it was filled with photos of foods and meals;  a guide to foods and their nutritional values.  The book depicted name brand foods found in grocery stores and foods ordered  in popular American  restaurants.  The book was Eat This, Not That! .    The younger siblings liked looking through the book,  to see if they’re favorite candy was “ok” to consume or if it was on the “Not That!” list.  Our youngest, 7 at the time, really loved this book and last year, at the tender age of 9, he requested it for a Christmas gift!  My husband, after scanning our kids’ wish lists, asked me if I was sure that youngest son wanted that book and I assured him that it was the child’s number 1 request!  On Christmas day, the youngest excitedly tore off the giftwrap and plunged his nose into that book and our Monster was born!

I’m pretty sure later that day, he wandered into the kitchen and quizzed me as to what I was going to serve the family for Christmas Dinner, for the book, you see, has a section analyzing typical American holiday meals.  For example, a baked potato would be a better choice to serve one’s guests than a mashed potato concoction.  Lean Roast Beef is a great choice for a Christmas main course, not Prime Rib, which has too much fat.  I smiled and thanked him for his advice and went on with the meal’s preparations.

Our son’s reading of this book has been entertaining but it’s begun to drive his siblngs crazy.  At the grocery store, he is apt to point out that Cheerios are better than Golden Grahams, that Thomas’s bagels are better than Sara Lee’s, that Oscar Mayer Center Cut Bacon is better than any other brand of bacon, if one must eat bacon at all.  I have always loved Yoplait Yogurt and was discouraged to learn that it is actually one of the worst yogurt brands out there to consume!  Ben and Jerry’s ice creams contain more fat  than a double cheeseburger meal at McDonalds!   Thomas's bagelsCheetosBen and Jerry's ice cream

Eat This, Not That! is an interesting book, but I have had to put my foot down and tell our son that I am still going to buy certain products and will sometimes  ignore what that book says.  I am a choosy mother, and have always preferred Jif peanut butter over any other brand on the market.  As you have probably already guessed, it’s not the brand recommended in Eat This, Not That!  Slowly, our son has been getting the point.  However, through his guidance, I have made some changes in what we buy, and while Cheetos haven’t been bought in a while, pita chips are a new buy that the family likes and the Cheetos haven’t been missed.   Jif

Our third child, a son, went on a college visit last week.  I also went on the visit and  took the youngest with us, as he is home schooled,    After the talk that the parents sat through was over, and our future college students were returned to us from their program, we were taken to another building for a meet and greet with all of the departments at the school and we were given time  to meet the professors.  As we milled around waiting to talk to certain departments, the youngest found the Dietetics Department.  He mentioned his favorite book to the ladies at that table and they smiled and said how they all knew that book quite well.  They also said they hoped he’d be one of their students in the future!!  I haven’t exactly explored the career path of a dietician, how much do they make, but I do have vague ideas where they are employed at.  Who knows?  Those ladies may be right and we might have a future dietician in our midst!

I would lastly add, that if one of your children is interested in a topic, let them explore it to learn more about it.  Let them seek out information, with your guidance of course.  As a pediatrician once told one of our daughters, reading is good for your brain, it makes you smart.  So let the reading and researching begin, and just be ready to defend your favorite food products, if the book Eat This, Not That! enters your home!

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