Well I made my start on the path to a healthier lifestyle the day of my last post. I just had my follow-up doctors visit to see the results of my efforts over the 2 1/2 months since the start. I lost 32 pounds, I lowered my blood sugar to nearly normal levels, I lowered my cholesterol by 22 points and my triglycerides to normal. I improved in every area tested. My blood pressure is now lowered to normal as well. Hurray for me!
How did I do this? It is a hard thing to do on many levels. First, you have to make the decision that your health and longevity are important to you. Second, you have to decide how to achieve that goal. This is the hardest part. How do you achieve this goal. Well, we all know how, we just don’t want to do the work. It requires a lot of work. It requires a single-minded focus on what you eat, when you eat it and how much you eat. It requires a focus on getting your body in motion. It requires getting up off the couch and doing something….anything. It also requires cooking from scratch. That is perhaps the most difficult part for most people. No more fast food? No more dining out? No more quick and easy prepared foods? Nope! NO WAY YOU CAN GET HEALTHY EATING THOSE FOODS. At least not if you have the multitude of obesity related health issues I have.
In today’s society very few young people even know how to cook, let alone from scratch. I tried to find alternatives, but even so-called lean or healthy meals have too much sodium for my high blood pressure. They also, don’t taste like real food to me. I mean, when I cook, the food has a wonderful blend of flavors and spices without added salt. I have found a way to eat healthy for me and make meals that appeal to my husband and son. Amazingly, you can enjoy many of the same casseroles and quick skillet dishes you might have with pre-packaged foods, you just have to modify the proportions of the ingredients. Here’s what you do: lower the fat, increase the vegetables, lower the starches, change starches from white to whole grain & high fiber, do not add salt, use fresh or frozen vegetables primarily. Then have fruit and low fat milk as desert.
For most people, just these small changes would help them to lose weight, get stronger and have less stress. So, let’s put fast food restaurants out of business unless they come up with healthier options. Not just pretend healthy either. Truly healthy, such as salads that are not loaded with too much cheese. Or grilled chicken that is not filled with too much salt. I would love to be able to go to my favorite fast food restaurant and have the option to order a grilled chicken salad with a fat-free low sodium dressing that had no more than 300 calories and no more than 300 mg of sodium, but I can’t do that. It doesn’t exist except in my own kitchen.
Why don’t they offer it? Well to give credit to a consumer based economy, they are getting better. People are demanding it as they become more health conscious. However, healthier foods are more expensive to maintain in a restaurant setting. Then there is the addiction factor. In fast foods there is the perfect combination of flavor and fats that creates an addiction in the consumer. I was an addict to burgers and fast foods. I didn’t think I could survive without hamburgers and french fries. I really would try to stop going and getting tacos and burritos, but I would dream about it. I had to have it even though I was never satisfied by the food when I purchased it. I would be bursting from how full I was and I would still be hungry wanting more. That is the thing they do. I don’t know if there is some kind of seasoning that they add that increases appetite, but it sure seems that way when you are in the addictive behavior.
So how did I stop? I took the first step and decided I wanted to live. Then the second step of starting to eat healthy. Then the Third step of attending health education classes. These helped me see the options for eating healthy. I combined those chosen foods with my cooking creativity and created a new plan. Now, sometimes I still crave a greasy burger, but when I think of eating it, I feel nauseated. I don’t want to go down that road again. It is just like any addiction. I quit smoking years ago and once in a while I still want a cigarette, but I don’t have one because I know the addiction would take back over. I just remind myself I want to live, I don’t want stinky breath, hair, clothes, and most of all I don’t want to die like my friend who died January 19 of lung cancer at the ripe old age of 51. She had been a two pack a day smoker since her teens. She had less than three months from diagnosis to death. These reasons all keep me from smoking. So I do the same thing with fast food. I want to lose weight and get healthy. I want to fit into my clothes. I want to watch my grandchildren grow up and dance at their weddings. I want to swim and run and ride bikes, and if I eat those fattening, slough making foods, I don’t do anything else healthy either. So I don’t go. If I absolutely have to buy lunch on the run, then I get a side salad and a yogurt or a side of cole slaw and a vegetable and skip the meats completely. The fast food meats just have too much sodium and fat. Even my favorite healthy fast food sub sandwich shop has too much sodium. One six inch sub has nearly half the fat, sodium and carbs you should eat in a day. I used to eat a breakfast sub and a lunch sub, FOOTLONG. Afterall, it was the most cost effective. OMG was I ever trying to kill myself.
Okay, fourth step is getting in step. Moving. I am starting out slow because I have so much weight to lose. I am moving more easily and add something everyday. I will let you know how I progress on this in my next blog. I will also post some of my healthy creations that can be made in 30 minutes or less for a family of four. Keep coming back.