Thursday, August 20, 2009

Getting started

The reason I named this blog "The Lifestyle 'Diet'" is because diets are temporary by nature. They are intended to have a person lose weight over a specified amount of time, and then usually have no sort of plan for what to do when that time is up. This is the reason why most people will then go on to gain the weight back, and in a lot of cases wind up being heavier than before. Eating well needs to be a lifestyle change. It needs to be something that can be sustainable, and doing this definitely takes the right mindset, and a commitment to being healthier.

The way that I do this is by not eating meat, and cutting back on dairy. I have many reasons for this: I have a lot of disease in my family that I am trying to avoid by being healthier NOW. I think the way animals are treated on factory farms is deplorable, and I want NO part of it. I watched a video on factory farming in 7th grade health class, and gave up meat for 4 years. I gradually began eating it again after that, and then this past Christmas I hit my highest weight ever. It wasn't an outstanding number, but I think that when anyone hits their "unacceptable number", its a low point. I had sort of been slacking off with my food. I had moved down south where the whole dynamic of food is different. I took a job where I sit all day long. I have a boyfriend who eats drastically differently than I do, and I liked the food. However, my boyfriend is blessed to be able to eat 5 million calories a day and still have 8 pack abs. I am not blessed in this way. I have to work at being at a weight where I feel comfortable. As my brother once tactfully told me, I am built like my father. I will never be a super skinny girl, I tend to be a little on the thick side. I am totally fine with that except that at this point I no longer felt curvy and fabulous, I felt fat. Not good. I decided to do something about it, so I grabbed the "Skinny Bitch" book, written by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. This was the kick in the ass I needed to take back control of my diet. The book promotes a vegan lifestyle, which means no animal products or processed food. This plant based diet has been proven time and again to dramatically lower blood pressure and cholesterol, cut the risk for heart disease and cancer by a TON, increase longevity and make for a healthier body weight. I am still unable to completely convert because I love cheese, but I have been meat and dairy milk free for 8 months. It isn't that I dislike meat. I love ham and steak the most, but after reading about the animals and reminding myself of the practices used in mass producing meat, its not worth it to me to be a part of that. For people who cannot give up meat, I totally understand. I am not trying to force people to make such a dramatic change that they will not stick with it. Take baby steps.

Grocery shopping has taken on a new meaning. The last time I gave up eating meat, my mother was in charge of this chore. Now, it's all on me. I spend a lot of time in the produce section picking out fresh fruit and vegetables. I buy, eat, and LOVE tofu and tofu products. I gradually moved to doing my shopping at the organic grocery chain Whole Foods. This produced an even more exciting change.. after a couple of months, I noticed a dramatic change in my skin and hair. My complexion is better than ever, and my hair is so shiny and feels amazing. I wasn't even trying to accomplish these things, they just happened. It was a very pleasant surprise, and I'm going to attribute it to going organic. Fruits, vegetables, pasta, eggs, and even frozen meals. I am obsessed with Amy's Kitchen meals, and the good news is that they are all meat, poultry and egg free, all organic, and there are vegan and gluten-free options. Her pizza and macaroni and cheese are to die for. I have not tried anything that I don't like, and its very nice to have something convenient to bring for lunch every day. I have never been a fan of frozen meals until I found this brand. The rest are garbage disguising themselves as healthy. Flip them over and read the ingredients and you will see what I mean. Read the ingredients on an Amy's Kitchen meal, and you can pronounce everything and almost every ingredient is organic. You can't lose.

If you get anything from this post, try incorporating more produce into your diet. The more fruits and vegetables, the better. They are an amazing source of nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. There are so many options, plus they will fill you up so you eat less of the other not so great choices. Try to cut back on processed, pre-packaged foods because they are full of preservatives and sodium. I will get more specific in coming weeks about what to eat and what to avoid, but try this step for now. Enjoy and good luck!!


Unknown said...

I completely agree with this. Since I got together with my now-husband, I got into the bad habit of eating a lot of meals containing just meat and starch (usually rice, and not healthy rice, the really bad Rice-A-Roni flavored stuff). Now, I try to replace my starch with a vegetable, and eat more fruit with breakfast/lunch and more salads with spinach and tomatoes at lunch. (No, I'm not doing Atkins, but I am a carb-loader, and wasn't getting nearly enough fruits and veggies). I feel a lot better (less bloated all the time) and I find myself snacking less. Next step is to shop at Whole Foods!