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.