Monday, May 26, 2014

Adventures in weight loss, part 2

This year, one of my goals is to drop the 10 pounds that I've put on since college. I have a family, a full-time job, and lots of responsibilities, which means I don't have time to spend two hours a day at the gym. That probably puts me in the same position as 90 percent of the U.S. population. But that doesn't mean I'm giving up on taking care of my body.

Yesterday I talked about exercise. Today, healthy eating.

I'm not naturally a healthy eater. I gravitate to chips and cookies, not vegetables. Obviously that's not going to work when trying to drop pounds. I wouldn't call what I'm doing a diet, in that I think of a diet as either starving yourself or following some strange fad rules. Rather, I'm simply giving better fuel to my body.

Here are my rules, which I follow most of the time:
  • No sugary drinks. No soda or Kool-Aid. This isn't too difficult because I'm a sensory avoider and hate the bubbles of carbonation. I'm also mildly lactose intolerant, so milk is out. I limit myself to one cup of juice in the mornings with my breakfast, and one cup of coffee at some point during the day. Mostly I drink water and hot tea.
  • Healthy, not unhealthy snacks. My workplace has something called the trough, where my co-workers dump chips, cookies, doughnuts, etc. for shared consumption. The trough is about two feet from my desk, which means I spend most work shifts with a constant stream of folks coming by to graze. It's a temptation to join them. My solution: I bring my own fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, dried fruit, low-fat cottage cheese, oatmeal, etc. In other words, healthy snacks. Sometimes I indulge in a cookie or a couple of chips, but not nearly as much as I used to.
  • Bake, don't fry. Anything I make for dinner, I try to find ways to put it in the oven instead of on the stove with lots of oil.
  • No fast food. I make my lunches and dinners at home and bring them to work. Fresh vegetables, rice and baked meats. But not fish. I like fish, but I also like my co-workers, and I won't subject them to the stink of reheated fish.
  • Don't overeat. I've never been an overeater, so this is easy. I eat slowly, and when my stomach is full, I stop. Even if there's still food on my plate.
  • Nothing after 10 p.m. I work a late shift and get home between 8 and 9. Sometimes I'm hungry. If I get a snack, I aim for a healthy one, and I don't eat at all after 10 p.m., giving my body plenty of time to metabolize what I've already put in it before I go to bed.
That's about it. It's not rocket science. Mostly, it's common sense. But I've been surprised at the discipline it takes to stick to a regimen of healthy eating.

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