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It's been one week since I've started really focusing on what I've been eating and my lifestyle.  My interest was piqued two weeks ago when the health center part of the company I work at mentioned a summer 'Healthy Lifestyle' program where you would follow a table of things to do every day for a month (with 3 calendars for 3 months) and get points for each item you do on the list each day, at the end the most points would win prizes.  The items on this calendar range from getting 30 minutes of exercize MWF (walking, playing with your kids, etc...), eating 3 servings of fruit on Tuesday, eating 3 servings of veggies on Thurs, eating a serving of dark chocolate later in the month, and even drinking a small glass of wine!

Now I know I have a bad habit of starting a healthy choice lifestyle and quitting a week or two in after seeing no results so I decided I'd do the lifestyle calendar but wouldn't sign up for the contest to win stuff because I want to prove to myself I can do it, not that I'm doing it for a prize.  After all, you need to work on becoming healthy for yourself and not someone else.

So far I've followed the calendar every day by eating lots of fruits and vegetables and walking 3 days a week.  Since one of my major goals has been to lose weight, I knew I had to change something in my diet.  I started eating a salad with every meal and sometimes as the main meal (most lunches are now a salad variant).  But it's not only about salads, it's about portion control (I know, everyone says that right?!).  I've stopped taking seconds and when I load up with something like veggies I think in my head 'How much is that? Do I have too much?'.  This way I can load up my plate to a point, clean the whole plate, and without second portions I'm not getting way too many calories.

For example, last night we had a dinner of BBQ'd grilled chicken legs, asparagus, and sliced french bread.  While preparing it I told my dad I wanted no BBQ sauce on the chicken which ended up getting a slight coat of sauce but after that he didn't BBQ it again when he did the others.  I was already preventing unneccesary calories before I even was at the table!  When it was chow time I grabbed 2 chicken legs, a single slice of bread, and a big helping of asparagus (which was cooked with olive oil and sesame seeds, not butter!).  I broke down a bit and after finished my plate grabbed one more chicken leg (which I attempted taking the skin off) and another helping of asparagus but no bread!  We've had this meal times and times before and I used to have eaten something in the range of 5-6 fully BBQ'd legs, a similar pile of asparagus, and 3-4 pieces of bread.

They say having people in your home who help you achieve your goals makes you more likely to succeed.  Yes, the impact of my eating has hit my family who have also been eating much better (not having potatoes at EVERY meal!).  While this is helpful, there are going to be times when peer pressure hits you, or those support systems aren't very supportive.  As a prime example, last Friday (when I first started eating healthy) we went out for a fish fry.  The waitress walked up to me and said "What would you like?"  I replied, "The normal sized baked fish with cottage cheese, and could I get just cottage cheese on the side?"  She said, "Sure, what do you want for potatoe?"  I hadn't said it correctly, "No, I don't want any potatoes, just cottage cheese and fish and maybe a slice of bread."  She just stared at me blankly as if I had just came from another planet.  After another few explanations of 'no potatoes', she replied "Well I'll see if they can do that".  How would that be hard for the kitchen staff?  Make the fish, and a side of cottage cheese, and put them on the same plate.  Through this interaction with the waitress my mom said, "Just get a baked potatoe!"  My support system had crumbled and I needed to stay strong.  As the waitress walked away my aunt looks at my mom and says, "What did he want?"  My mom looks back and says, "Oh he didn't want any potatoes because he's on a diet" (The end was said very annoyingly)  My aunt just laughed and rolled her eyes.  Great support system, eh?

Another example, Monday was a diet killer night.  Italian sausage sandwiches.  If you don't know how my mom makes them, you don't know a great pile of calories.  French bread sliced open and toasted with a large italian sausage patty covered in pizza sauce, and piled with melted cheese.  (I'm getting hungry thinking about it!)  Unbeknownst to me, most of the calories came from the sausage patty but I still tried to prevent unneccesary calories before eating.  I asked for much less cheese and the addition of cooked bell peppers on top.  Not only was the sandwich delicious, I saved myself from going over my daily calorie limit (see next paragraph).  The sandwich I had that night was a smaller 'half'.  My mom makes 4 halves, and I used to easily eat 2 halves.  I finished the 1 half and that was that!

My iPhone is a saint in achieving my goals.  I downloaded a free app called 'Lose It!', a calorie counting software which had me input my current state and my goal and tells me when I'll reach that goal and gives me a daily calorie total.  Now I've tried calorie counting websites before and they're not bad, but how often are you within reach of a computer while you're eating (granted adding my food to my phone during dinner isn't great table manners)?  So far I've kept under my daily value each day which is 2,525 for losing 1 pound a week at my current size.

Another note that everyone mentions is liquid calories.  In the last week I've had nothing but water and a few cups of juice or low-calorie beverage.  Not bad considering when I started at work (3 weeks ago) I was starting a cycle of almost 2 soda's a day (sometimes diet, sometimes regular).  In theory, I'm saving approximately 290 calories per bottle (that's of Mountain Dew) of regular soda, which in certain days would put me over my daily limit (remember italian sausage night?).  Lets say I craved Mountain Dew one week and had 2-20 oz bottles each day at work (5 work days).  That's 2900 calories in a week, which is about 2 bottles away from a full pound of body weight.

There's much more I could go into about liquid calories, but you're smart and can use Google to find out the benefits of water over other drinks.  So how much did I lose so far?  Well the scales have fluctuated (as they should) but I weigh myself every morning when I wake up, and this morning I was 232 lbs (weight loss of 3).  Now this could be a fluctuation since it's not very large, but I've weighed myself every morning for the whole week and not once have I been over my starting weight (morning after pasta night I had rocketed back up to 235, that was YESTERDAY morning, I've dropped down 3 lbs since yesterday!?  Pasta threw a wrench in my morning weigh-in).  So there's a definite loss happening, and I can almost feel my body becoming tighter (it's only possible to get a double chin if I cram my chin against my chest).  More importantly, I've felt better!

What have I learned?  Strict.  You need to be strict with yourself.  While at college I would go to the gym twice a week, eat almost more every day, and then would go get chinese buffet on Saturday as my 'non-diet' food to celebrate my gym-going.  How does that even make sense?!  It's about being able to pick and choose between a new lifestyle and an old lifestyle and sticking to your choices.

Posted on Friday, June 12, 2009 9:16 AM Updates | Back to top

Comments on this post: One Week Healthy

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It is the the calories came from the sausage patty but I still tried to prevent unneccesary calories before eating. I asked for much less cheese and the addition of cooked bell peppers on top. Not only was the sandwich delicious,
Left by Nimore on Jan 21, 2013 6:15 AM

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