We have all heard the adage, “you are what you eat.” It’s supposed to encourage us to eat more healthily and to cut back on those things that are bad for us. Truth is, it’s a stupid statement and the person(s) who coined it -Anthelme Brillat-Savarin said “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are” and Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach said “man is what he eats ” got way too much credit for silly sentiment. I no more desire to be a boneless, skinless, chicken breast than I do a box of doughnuts. More appropriate I think, is comparing a body to a car and foods to fuel. Most of us can relate to wanting to avoid the cheap stuff – it stymies performance, leaves a build-up and shortens the life of your engine.. Not catchy, but a lot more accurate.
It will shock no one that I love to eat. While there are often times when I am hungry, mostly, I eat because it’s around the time when I ate yesterday. Another food quirk I have is the ability to eat the exact same thing, over and over and over again. I actually like leftovers! Lastly, aside from shellfish which I am allergic to, I can eat just about anything (within reason). Of course have my favorites, but I rarely have preferences other than what’s available. In thinking about seriously losing and keeping weight off, I gave a lot of thought to my
diet the stuff I eat. Time will be the arbiter, but I think I have come up with a way to take ownership of my weight loss from an intake (food) as well as an output (exercise) perspective. I have broken my plan into a number of precepts below.
- Drink water, lots of it. So I’ve come across a lot of studies about the amount of water each person should drink. Most frequent is the drink 8 glasses advice… That idea does not
hold waterwork for me because it does not take size into consideration (what’s good for a 125 pound person is not necessarily what’s good forms 250 pounder ). The equation I adopted goes like this: ½ the number of pounds you are represented in ounces. So, at 240 pounds, I should be drinking 120 ounces of water each day.
- Drink green tea daily. Green tea has been linked to lowering cholesterol, fighting cancer, dementia, suppressing the appetite and the list goes on. If it turns out, that all of the above is untrue, there are worse things to have done than drank a cup of tea. I drink it without sugar.
- Eat breakfast every day. I eat oatmeal, not because I like it, but because it’s good for me, is gone in 3 min, easy to prepare, is dirt cheap and keeps me from being ravenous at 10:00 a.m..
- Take a multivitamin and a fish oil pill. A word of advice, if you take a fish oil pill, do so with food or take a good quality one, you don’t want to have fish oil breath.
- Eat as many fruits and vegetables as I can. Dude, I’m not listening to you tell me that bananas have more sugar than celery, I didn’t get this weight by eating bananas. Trust me.
- Make fish, chicken and turkey the staple meats of my diet. This doesn’t mean I have given up bacon cheeseburgers, but it does mean I’m no longer building my diet around them.
- Cut out fast food. This does mean I’ve given up 5 Guys’ bacon double cheese burgers.
- Have a cheat day – This means that I can have 5 Guys’ bacon double cheese burger if I want. The idea of a cheat day is funny. On one hand you ask yourself, do I really want to sacrifice all of the healthy eating I’ve done this week? The kicker is two-fold. First, if you are like me, at one time, all of your meals were cheat meals. So if you eat breakfast lunch and dinner, that’s 21 cheat meals a week. With the incorporation of a cheat day, that drops that number down to 3. If you feel that bad about yourself, eat a healthy breakfast and have 2 bad meals. In the end, it is up to you. Keep in mind: it might just be a cheat meal that keeps your sacrifices on track.
- Power foods. Below is my list of power foods. It’s not all inclusive, but it encompasses the foods I want to build my healthy eating habits around. At some point, I may create a matrix determining a point value for each in an effort to get a particular score every day, but for now I just want to add as many as possible to my day. The list is by no means exhaustive, but a good jumping off point.
- Black beans / red beans
- Berries (blue, black, rasp)
- Walnuts and Almonds
- Almond milk
- Peppers (green, red, orange, yellow)
- Zucchini / Squash
- Spinach / kale
- Chicken breast
- Fish – not farmed
- Ground turkey
- Olive oil
Here are some of last week’s concoctions.