Why I'm here....

Since I've always been quick with an opinion an old friend once lost and again found suggested that perhaps I should share with more people my commentary. Never being one to pass on a challenge I thought I'd give it a whirl.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Diet's (Food Choices) 101!

I thought I would take a moment just to share a little of what I have learned over my journey to losing weight and getting healthy. I get asked a lot how I’m doing it. It’s not a magical pill (although wouldn’t that be nice). I am doing it the good old fashioned way of exercise and diet. I walked during the summer about forty to sixty miles a week. As it’s gotten colder I’m down between twenty and thirty, but I have added more on the home front for doing exercise bike, weight training, WII and sit ups and leg lifts. I figure adding the extra will help balance the not getting to walk as much as I would like. I also have added more time on my feet and less time on the sofa watching the “boob tube”. I only watch about an hour of television a day now and sometimes not even that. I do read quiet a bit, but I work it so that I do it after exercise or will riding the exercise bike. I even find more excuses to get up and move around at work. Sitting for hours on end just isn’t happening with me anymore. As for the diet end of it, I know there are several to choose from. The way I chose to approach it was to work with my doctor and discuss my own health concerns and the best approach. I believe everyone should do this when dieting and don’t just ask them for a diet list. You know if you do that they are going to give you something you will never follow. If you actually tell your doctor ahead of time so he can plan on allowing time and then actually tell him what you like and what you need you can work it out with him. For me the chose of diets was easy. I started having blood pressure issues. Blood pressure is directly affected by sodium in foods, so the doctor suggested I work with a dietician and learn about sodium in foods and how it affects the body. My goal that was set was to attempt to take in no more than 1200 to 1500 mg of sodium in any given day. Me, being who I am set my goal at 1000 mg a day rather than what they gave me. You see I know from personal experience how easy it is to say a little over won’t hurt, so by setting it to 1000 if I hit 1200 I was still ok. I actually kept a log at first and I read labels of everything I bought to check the sodium content. At first calories and carbohydrates didn’t matter. I needed to learn about sodium first. I also started going on line and checking fast food menu’s and nutrition charts prior to going out to get my meals as well. I sort of became fixated on sodium. I started using non-salted butter in my cooking and I even bought low sodium foods to stock. Until I did all this I didn’t’ realize that even a bag of carrots has sodium in them. Did you realize that a 12oz can of diet coke has 50 mg of sodium in it? How about this? Did you realize that a single Reese’s cup has 210 mg of sodium? When you are only allowing yourself 1200 mg of sodium a day it doesn’t take long to add up. I started telling myself that once I hit my sodium count for the day, no matter what it was or when then I was done. I might eat an apple or something (of which yes still has sodium) but I would eat very little if anything after I hit my allotted sodium for the day. I started feeling better within a couple of days. It amazed me. I also added more water to my diet because water helps remove sodium from the body. Before I realized it I had lost sixty pounds. That was the first leg of my getting off the weight. After that diet started me I added the walking an exercise and the rest as they say is history. I thought I would give you some interesting facts and figures in here though too. I found I had a lot of misconceptions about the foods out there and what was healthiest for me and what wasn’t. So I am going to give you some restaurant choices and lets see which ones you would pick for healthy and which ones not.

Which one is the better choice: Two hamburgers and a small fry from McDonalds or a Taco Bell Chipotle Steak Taco Salad from Taco Bell?

Ok, I’m not a doctor, but from what I’ve learned I’ll tell you which one I would choose and why. Although the salad sounds like the more sensible option because it has the word “salad” in it, I would go with the McDonald’s hamburgers and fries. Of course knowing me I would probably do just one hamburger and a small fry but that is me. Now actually you should normally stay away from red meats for the most part when dieting; however, in this scenario if these are your two options the salad is not going to be the better option on a diet. The Taco Bell Chipotle Steak Salad has 890 Calories in it. Of which there are 57 grams of fat, 11 grams saturated fats, 1700 mg of sodium, and 28 grams of protein and 70 grams of carbohydrates. Did you notice the 1700 mg of sodium? How about the 57 grams of fat? Now let’s look at the McDonald’s meal. Both hamburgers and the small fry have a combined total of 730 calories. Out of these 730 calories (which is less than the salad) there are 29 grams of fat, 8 grams saturated fat, 1200 mg of sodium, 91 grams of carbohydrates, and 27 grams of protein. I’m not advocating eating any fast food, but we all know we are going to do it from time to time. The thing to do when you’re eating out is know which options are actually the better ones when dieting. I asked a few friends to tell me different items they felt were healthy and low sodium, low calories at various restaurants. I found that many of them had the same misgivings I had. Examples: Arby’s sells a Roast Chicken Club sandwich. Almost everyone I talked to thought it would be good on a diet, but I am here to tell you I am not picking it. This sandwich has 460 Calories of which 170 are from fat, 39 grams of carbohydrates and 1490 mg of sodium. Now granted it’ lower on the calorie scale, but the sodium content will kill you. Sodium causes the body to retain fat and water. Just a heads up for you there in case you didn’t know. From Burger King the Tender grill garden salad comes in with 460 calories, 29 grams of fat, 31 grams of protein, 19 carbohydrates and hold on to your hat, 1450 mg of sodium. So basically eat this and you’re done for the day. Believe it or not I would eat a whopper (probably junior for me) before eating this salad. Now a full size whopper has 670 calories, 40 grams of fat, and 1020 grams of sodium. So yes I would have more fat and more calories, but then again my diet has been based around watching my sodium. If we look at the whopper jr. which is what I would probably eat then we find the following: 370 Calories, 21 grams of fat and 560 mg of sodium. This to me is the better option for me in my mind. If I go to Culvers I eat a single butter burger. Why, it fills me up and it has 346 Calories and 700 mg of sodium. Still not my chosen foods, but if I find I’m there and I’m hungry I am going to look for what I feel has the lesser sodium content. IHOP has a meal of Tilapia and steamed broccoli that only has 360 calories and 580 mg of sodium. I love it. I always have them put the hollandaise sauce on the side because I’m not a fan of it, but even if I add French fries to this meal I can still stay within my diet. There are options out there, but the first thing you need to do is arm yourself with information. PIZZA is TABU…. Sorry, it’s just the plain old facts of life. I have started only allowing myself pizza about once every six months. Two Slices of pepperoni pizza has 1600 mg of sodium in it (Pizza Hut). Not to mention a ton of empty calories and fat. How many people stop with two slices of pizza? The easiest way I think for most people to start is to just cut back periodically. I mean learn that leaving food on your plate is not a bad thing and seconds is rarely wise. Forgiving one’s self for bad days when we indulge is another as well as learning that this is a life style choice, not a diet in reality. One more tip I have for you. I have two days a week I allow myself to eat a sweet treat. Could be a couple of reases cups or a bowl of ice cream, but I don't eat sweets every day. I also have one designated day every month that I allow myself to eat anything I want without chastising myself. It gives me things to look forward to so that I know I'm not missing out. I've found I enjoy my food more and these special times off the diet mean all the more. Food tastes much better to me than it use to. Give these things a try if you will. If nothing else start reading your labels. I'm sure if you notice the sodium content on foods you are in for a huge surprise.

1 comment:

ida said...

very informative.