Friday, July 26, 2013

Eating Healthy

If I have trained my body to overeat once again and then desire to bring it back into balance, I have to follow this plan strictly until it is apart of me.

Total Daily Calories
The first step is to figure out my total daily calories based on my:


General Activity Level

Fitness Goals

Specific Daily Exercise

Tools I use to assess these readings:

To assess my weight I just need to step on the dreaded scale again and see what the damage is.  I enter that number in Livestrong by clicking on the Weight tab.  Then on My Plate, it says:
General Activity Level
This is the most imprecise measurement.  I assess it generally.  Do I have a desk job or am I on my feet most of the day?  Do I clean the house for hours and work outside or do I work on things sitting down.  These variables describe how many calories I generally burn and therefore need to consume minus my daily hour of exercise.  If I want to more precisely measure how many calories I burn in an average day I can wear my heart rate monitor for the entire day and see.

Fitness Goals
My fitness goal has always been to decrease the percentage of fat while increasing the percentage of muscular strength and flexibility.  I find that this goal and the incremental obtainment of it gives me optimal sensitivity to the balance of peace and energy I desire to experience on a daily basis.

How fast I get there while still maintaining that balance is another part of that goal.  How fast can I lose the weight without hitting the wall and rebounding?  How fast can I lose it and keep it off?  How fast can I make living within a higher level of balance apart of myself?

-1 lb./week?

-2 lbs./week?

I can select this option on Livestrong:  My Plate submenu:  Calorie Goals.

Specific Daily Exercise
It’s important that I choose a daily exercise that I look forward to.  It used to be group fitness (aerobics) when I was younger.  Now it is walking/jogging/bike riding.  But I also enjoy working around the house and out in the yard.  I try to work at zoom-pace and with my ipod on.  Really fast.  And I wear my heart rate monitor.  I do that for cardio in addition to my strength training and flexibility workouts.  For this I use gravity, weights, and the machines at the gym.  I make sure my core is always engaged when lifting.  I have found the best results for my body are obtained by using low weights 5-10 lbs.  I'm not interested in being ripped.  I just need to have the muscle it takes to do what I need to do and love it.

When I burn Calories during exercise, I need to account for those by eating them.  In the past I have made the mistake of not eating more when I exercised.  The result was exhaustion and headaches.   That meant I couldn’t stick with healthy eating and instead turned to emergency-treat-mode.  The key for me in losing weight is to keep the balance minus the Calories I need to go without in order to lose the 1-2 lbs./week.

Calories in/Calories out – 1-2 lbs./week Calorie deficit (-3,500-7,000 Calories/week)

This is calculated for me on the Livestrong site.

Frequency:  Eat every 3 hours
Once I have the total Calories I need to eat everyday, I divide that number by the number of meals I eat per day.  If I don’t keep my blood-sugar (hunger level) balanced, then I will end up in emergency-treat-mode.  I have found that I can keep this balance if I eat every 3 hours.

I divide my total daily Calories by the number of meals I will eat every 3 hours which usually is 4.

Making a Template Menu
It is best if I take the time in the morning and plan my menu for the day.  I usually eat the same thing, only varying types of vegetables, fruits, and proteins.  Eating all kinds of exotic foods or learning new recipes for new fandangled diets has always been a recipe for failure for me.  I don’t want to overly focus on food.  Eat, enjoy, and then let’s go!

In order to make my daily menu planning easy I have divided my total Calories for each meal by these three categories:

I tweak the percentage I need to eat of each of these categories based on my Fitness Goals.

The following targeted percentages seem to work the best for my goals:

25% of Calories from Protein

25% of Calories from Fat

50% of Calories from Carbs

I use the word "targeted" because it is never exact and that's okay.

All Carbs Are Not All Made Equal
Fruits and veggies are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and digestive enzymes my body needs.  If it doesn’t get them, it will be hungry.  So I can’t just eat grains and other starches for my carb allotment.  I need to make room for those fruits and veggies.  So I divide the total carb calories like this:
This basically means that I eat as many vegetables as I can, 3 servings of fruit, and 3 servings of grains or starchy veggies a day.

Savoring My Food
This is hard because I like to move quickly, get on to the next thing on my list.  But I’m trying to train myself to slow down and savor my food.  Here are the reasons to motivate me:

Enzymes in saliva help break down the food I eat so my body is able to digest more and access more vitamins.  Saliva and savoring go together.  Savoring results in a more complete satiation.  I don’t want more when I'm finished eating.  When I make the best use of the food I’m eating, I eat less food.

Drink lots of water
Once I’ve eaten the food, I want to make sure the waterways upon which it is transported to all areas of my body are well supplied.  If the waters are too low and slow then food will be slowly transported.

I also want to make sure the trash is quickly taken out.  If trash accumulates in a local area because transportation is too slow, then the environment gets dirty and optimal functioning decreases incrementally.

Avoid Certain Foods
Too High In Sugar
I avoid foods that are too high in sugar.  What is too high?  For every person that varies.  I had to go on a way low sugar fast over an extended period of time to reset my body’s sensors.  Once they were reset, I could taste when specific foods like a “nutrition bar” or certain treats were too high.  Other treats like dark chocolate don’t seem to cause the overly high glycemic response in my body.  Yet, if I eat too much of it, I do begin to feel it.

Too High In Salt
Salt has been off my radar for a while because I have been so focused on reducing the sugar.  But recently I’ve noticed that I consume too much salt.  I mainly get it from Sam’s Club canned chicken or Prego Pasta Sauce.  When I reduce it my fingers stop bloating in the mornings and my thirst for water increases.

Structurally Modified Macronutrients
Hydrogenated Fats, Trans Fats, and GMOs have been genetically modified to lengthen the shelf-life of a packaged food or to increase a plant’s defense against drought and pestilence.  I wouldn’t mind that.  Sounds reasonable to me.  But my body minds it.  When I eat foods with hydrogenated fats my body starts itching all over.  When I eat foods that have been altered from their natural state, I sense it.  The next day I am unable to maintain my total daily calorie limit.  I become way hungry.  I keep thinking this could be attributed to something else (because I really want to eat it!) but each time I retest, same result.

Wikipedia says, "Wheat (Triticum spp.) is an important domesticated grass used worldwide for food, and its evolution has been influenced by human intervention since the dawn of agriculture."

Artificial Stimulants and Relaxants
I’m not really interested in artificial relaxants other than pain relievers.  I do not like taking them.  But I do take them when I get a headache that rivals child birth.  Because I know acetaminophen is bad for my liver and ibuprofen is bad for my stomach and who knows what else, I remain on my quest to figure out what causes my headaches and what I can do to prevent them.

Artificial stimulants such as caffeine give me headaches which then require me to take the pain relief meds which then cause other problems.  Additionally, I just can’t in my right mind subject myself to a substance that requires me to increase its dose over time while its energizing effects decrease and the need for artificial relaxants increase.  If I developed a dependence on pseudo energy boosts like this, there will be no satiation in the end.  Just constant craving.  I’ve noticed that my spirit and body cannot be dealt with separately.  Not being able to experience real energy would be an utter hell for me.  I like to be stimulated, motivated.  But passing this energy along in balanced exercise creates this flow of energy inside of me that I can’t get in any other way.  Because I love it so much, I want to identify how to obtain it in balanced ways so I can have it forever.

I have determined that avoiding these foods promotes endurance in healthy balanced eating.  When I stay balanced, I have the energy and peace I desire.

Eating Treats
Eating treats slows me down in my overall progression towards achieving my goal.  But sometimes I need to slow down or I’m going to crash hard.  And sometimes if I crash too hard I don’t get back up for a long time.  “I’m not doin’ that again!” my body tells me.  So I have to compromise.  I can’t expect it to change at too fast a pace.

Treats I like that don’t make my blood-sugar sky rocket at this point in my journey are dark chocolate (70%), nuts, baked sweet potato wedges w/olive oil, apple oatmeal. I can't overeat these things. Everything in balance.

All this said, I think the most important thing I need to remember is that I'm not sacrificing in this way for NOTHING!  There is something I'm trying to obtain.  When we sacrifice we give something up that is good for something better.  I will write more on that in the next blog post.