I won’t deny that some days feel like the picture above……especially when you feel like you only have time for fast food!
Needless to say, I don’t eat much fast food.
It is two years ago today, since I began this quest to implement healthier eating habits.
Actually, I always thought I was pretty smart about how and what to eat…..but I’ve learned quite a bit in the past couple of years and, though weight loss was the initial motivation, my primary focus has leaned more toward improving the quality of the foods we eat, and including some important foods consistently to my nutrition.
I had several goals to keep in mind when planning and preparing meals, or making food choices of any kind. These principles evolved a few times as I gleaned information, scouring podcasts, listening to audio books, and of course……reading Facebook!! Actually, I am just kidding about Facebook, like seriously kidding…… However, Pinterest was quite valuable, and sure helped with recipes that incorporated some of the principles that became important to me.
The primary guiding factors were:
- reducing carbs, especially highly processed ones
- knowing how different foods fare on the inflammation spectrum
- increasing vegetable intake. especially leafy greens and other alkalizing ingredients
- limiting evening snacks to only occasionally, and very rarely.
- including all food groups, as I believe that each one has a contribution to make. So though some were more limited than others, none were eliminated, but rather planned into the meals in the quantities that seem to work well for MY metabolism.
- creating nutrition habits that would become maintainable, and consequently, firmly established as a permanent, nutrition-management system, not a short-term diet.
Some of the ingredients that begin to show up more prominently and routinely:
- chia seeds
- kale, baby spinach, arugula, and various mixed greens
- homemade bone broths
- cauliflower, turnip, and zucchini/squashes – all very good subs for high-carb mashed potatoes, pizza crusts, rice, French fries, and pastas.
- MCT oil
- avocados and avocado oil
- plain greek yogurt (dairy is something I, personally, need to limit.)
- nuts and seeds, often replacing higher-carb, over-processed grain products such as flours. I really want to make a nut and seed granola to use on top of fruit and yogurt or as a healthy snack
- fermented foods such as kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir made from goat’s milk
Some of the tools that are key for me:
- the Instant Pot – I’m pretty sure mine is almost worn out!!!! It can’t die now, I just ordered the new air-fryer lid for it!!!!
- a food processor – mine just died!!!!! :'(. HIGH on the replacement list, I just have to find one I like! I need a work-horse of a machine!
- a food dehydrator – I use the Excaliber 9-tray model. We’ve had it for almost 13 years and it has been used more this year, than most others combined.
- a vegetable spiralizer
- good sharp knives!!!!
- I still eat pizza……like REAL pizza!!
- I still drink wine
- Hummus is going to kill me!!! Not that it isn’t a good option sometimes, but it is one of the foods I find challenging to moderate. I could eat the whole container, and there are so many different flavours!
- I’d like to say I ate celery sticks with the hummus, but no, there were often Tostitos involved!
- Thanksgiving weekend, I enjoyed everything we had available, including delicious desserts and yummy baked goods provided by local foodie, Laurie Anne Brennan of https://www.facebook.com/shortcrustfoodcompany. I’ve had the delight of enjoying her whole-food, made-from-scratch creations, including some of the most flavourful dishes I’ve ever eaten. The main ingredients in her dishes are sourced locally, as possible. Unfortunately, it never even occurred to me to ask for lower-carb, minimal sugar products, but when I was bemoaning what these treasures were going to do to my “diet”, she enlightened me that these options are all available.
- All of these confessions include the caveat that they are consumed only occasionally, and almost always in moderation. 🙂
Some of the successes achieved so far:
- 2-3 clothing sizes smaller
- A 65-70lb (depending on the day) weight loss.
- Elimination of pain – especially in my knees.
- Increased mobility. We have stairs outside the emergency entrance at work. These steps are quite deep and I used to have to step up one step at a time, lifting one foot up to the other, with knees throbbing, onto the same step with the previous foot, before repeating this process on the next step. Now I ‘sprint’ up.
- I actually enjoy shopping for clothes…..maybe even a bit too much!!!
- A significant number of inches lost overall….just not sure how many and don’t feel like hunting for the measuring tape right now!
Some days have been hard. Some days I’ve come close to just forgetting the whole endeavour!!!!
I’ve had to address some entrenched mindsets and defaults – such as when I have a bad day. If my choices haven’t been stellar, I don’t let it derail me and send me into a downward spiral, sabotaging all the progress made so far. I pick up and move on, looking long-term and gauging over-all progress and goals versus wallowing in one bad day.
Every day I’m at work, I see the cost of not taking our health and nutrition seriously. Sometimes it becomes too late, irreversible, and there is no turning back; but even then, it’s not too late to start making choices that can improve our quality of life.
I’ll never see the body I once had or the weight I once was. But I CAN prolong mobility, aid my body to find disease naturally, increase immunity, decrease inflammation, and achieve greater gut-health. I can work with MY body providing the nutrients it needs, to do the job it was created to do.
So can you…… Believe me, my prospects were not good!!! Years and years of gaining-losing-gaining, menopause, a strong distaste for exercise, a love of all things bread and wine, but even more – years of living in shame and defeat – all worked against me.
Some meals, I lose the battle…….but I WILL win the war!!!!