Sunday, March 24, 2013

how i got started on eating healthier

It was just last year when I decided to take "healthy eating" more deliberately, purposely removing certain things from the grocery list and opting for more fresh (ish) vegetables and fruits.  I wasn't really attempting to lose weight (although I admit, that would be a pleasant side effect); I just wanted to do what I could to make myself less prone to fatigue, heart failure and other ailments when I get older.  There isn't any way to quantify the effects of my food choices, but I do feel proud of myself that I ... wait, what is it exactly am I proud of?  ^_^  Proud that I care about what I put into my body?  Proud that I've set a strategy of sorts and stuck to it?  Proud that I don't feel like such a heifer?  All of the above, I suppose.  Plus the added benefit of better well-being.  The point is, I feel good about myself.

my easy plan of sorts

A good intention doesn't amount to much unless there's some sort of plan to make it happen.  And a plan isn't much of a plan unless it's doable and time-defined.  It's a good idea, me thinks, to set out with a soft start if the goal seems overwhelming.  I initially took it easy on myself and set objectives that I knew I could accomplish.

I started by declaring that every Monday is Meatless Monday.  Just every Monday - not a huge lifestyle shift there.  I could eat anything I wanted, as much as I wanted, as long as I don't eat meat of any sort.   No starvation required.

As I got used to the occasional meatlessness, I extended the no-meat policy to every dinner.  Just dinners - I can eat what I want during the day, as long as dinners are light, like soup and crackers or tomato juice and carrot sticks.  Seriously, I grew to love the taste of raw vegetables, and veggies became my new snack craving.

Of course all this entailed overhauling our regular grocery list too. Out with the processed, the high-fructose, the reconstituted, the overly sugary.  Okay, not entirely "out", but more like limiting severely.  In with the fresh and green.

I then permitted myself to have soda on the weekends only.  Eventually my liking for soda waned until I no longer needed to bother restricting myself.

I also adopted the habit of drinking a fiber-drink in the morning (or before pigging out), to make me feel full without eating so much, and to ensure I make, er, regular deposits.  Every now and then I take a spoonful of coconut oil (for its various benefits) and sometimes I have a relaxing drink of tea before bedtime.

Just recently, I phased out dairy milk and replaced it with soy / almond milk, and did away with the usual cooking oil and substituted coconut oil.  I also added No-Carb Wednesday to the Weekly Schedule, In addition to Meatless Monday. So far so good.

how i've seen it's good for me

There's no way to tell for sure if there's any direct correlation between my new eating habits and my general feeling of wellness, but I've observed I've become less prone to depression and fatigue.  I sleep a lot better too.  That's gotta be good.

I didn't set out to lose weight at first, but last I checked, I lost some eight pounds.  So now I think I should set a weight goal as well.  But I need to buy a new weighing-scale first.  :p

Eventually, the Hubby voluntarily went in on the "healthy eating" attempts too.  He saw the notes I posted on the door, and he apparently thought it was a good idea.  I initially didn't think of inviting him to Meatless Monday and No-Carb Wednesday because I was pretty sure he would hate it, but then he started doing it on his own too.  ^_^

One of the best benefits is that my new habits have curbed my cravings - it isn't so difficult to resist unhealthy eats anymore.  It's not that I prevent myself from having them (I actually don't believe in depriving oneself of of enjoyable food) but it has just become more natural for me to want healthier options.  I used to be able to gobble a large bag of potato chips in one sitting, but potato chips aren't as interesting anymore; I still love them, but I'm neither interested nor able to eat as much.  My craving for sugary sweets has also lessened somewhat.

and next

I still intend to keep up the healthier eating habits.  I'm thinking of adding "Fat Free Friday" to the weekly schedule, but I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet.  :)  Maybe a Fat-Free Thursday is more manageable.