As promised, the food post. I originally thought this was going to be entitled the "Diet" post, but in the end I have decided that it is about food, what my thinking is about it, and how much I like it. If you prefer to refer to that as a diet, that's cool with me.
After undergrad, when I first got serious about re-losing all the weight I had regained, I turned to Weight Watchers. This worked really well for me - I think I lost something around 60 pounds. I was also running a lot. And I was fueling those runs with 100 calorie snack packs, fat free bologna and cheese with fat free American cheese singles on light wonder bread. And baby carrots. Oh how I loathed those stupid carrots. That was pretty much my diet. It took the weight off, but was it healthy? It really is no wonder that when I tried to switch back to normal food and upped the stress level in my life, I started to gain the weight back. No one should try and live off of fat free whatever with a side of flavored air with preservatives. But if you had told me that at the time, I would have shoved my weight loss in your face and laughed.
When I decided to get in shape again, I decided to do it differently. I had started really getting into my yoga practice and began thinking about what I was putting into my body. This wasn't an overnight thing - I did not get up one morning and throw out the hostess cupcakes and fiber one bars. But slowly, over time, I found myself wanting to revamp my eating habits to include foods that would give me sustained energy and fit the lifestyle I was trying to cultivate. Mind you, I hate the word 'lifestyle' almost as much as I hate the word 'journey" and am trying to use them as little as possible...in this case though, lifestyle is probably the correct word to use. I will NOT use the word 'journey'. I started eating Chia Seeds 5 Pounds (Chemical Free), which are a great source on Omega- Threes and steady blood sugar. I started buying whole foods instead of processed. I made it a goal when shopping to buy the product with the least amount of ingredients, despite the brand. I also switched to sardines as my favorite choice of lunch time protein, due to how economical they are, how calcium rich they are, and again the content of Omega-Threes. Finding calcium rich foods also became important because, around the same time all of this was happening, I decided to start limiting dairy. It started as an experiment, but now I feel so much better without it that I am on soy and almond milk only. This is not a hard and fast rule - I am still eating ice cream occasionally, cheese is good...though I have switched to soy yogurt. I just feel better without it. The all- natural thing is not hard and fast either. Preservatives happen....just not as much as they used to.
I would also like to talk about fat. Fat along with veggies and protein are the bases of my diet now. When (if) you decide to read The New Rules of Lifting for Women: Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess, please pay attention to the section on fats. Also, I have been reading The Fat Fallacy: The French Diet Secrets to Permanent Weight Loss and though it sounds gimmicky and almost embarrassing, I like the ideas on fat and portions. Basically, I am not avoiding fats in my diet. Or, at least, I am not avoiding non-animal fats. Bring on the olive oil, avocado and nut butters, I say. Coconut? Yes please.
Veggies and protein. My basic idea about these two is, get as much as you can. I include fruit in the veggie category be default...I just prefer veggies, but I am trying to increase my fruit intake. I have a hard time fitting in as much protein as I would like, but I make a mindful effort to include it in every snack and meal. I fail frequently. Veggies however - no problem. Yesterday, for instance, I managed to consume spinach, berries, an entire bunch of kale, grated carrots, corn and papaya. Love veggies.
I guess next you are asking "where are the carbs?" Rest assured, there are plenty of carbs, I just do not really focus on whether or not I am getting them. I don't care. By default, I get plenty in my diet. I eat crackers. And oatmeal. And sweet potatoes. And corn. And so forth and so on. I love pizza. I like bread. I do not have these things every day, but when I do I am not concerned. Carbs are not evil but they are certainly not the focal point of my diet either. They are just there.
And I still loathe baby carrots.