Eat Good.

(Chapter 2 of blogging about “My Journey”)

Eat good… eat well… eat normal… just eat good. Eat in a way that is beneficial to you. Eat in a way that will leave you feeling GOOD about yourself.

I truly believe (and most know this deep down) a huge part of health and weight loss is simply food. I don’t need to be some kind of doctor or nutrition person to type that. All the extra, extra weight and fat that has been applied to my body has been put there by what I put in my mouth and how much I put in my mouth. I’m not a lazy person. I’m active and have been all my life. So the majority of my unnecessary weight comes from food. So now it takes the kitchen, food and along with exercise to get my unwanted weight off my body. I don’t believe (for myself only) in diets, pills, powders, meal supplements and whatever else is in on the market to buy to fix me. The handful people that I follow in social media are ones who believe in real foods, good decisions, water and exercise to maintain health and weight loss. I mean it doesn’t a rocket scientist to really figure all this out. Once we get past the mental challenges of committing and working… we know what to do. There are a MILLION ways to do this but there are also the very simple, inexpensive, realistic ways we can choose. I chose the latter for myself. It is what I’m attracted to. What I believe in and what is me. I can’t tell you how to take your journey. I can’t tell you what is right and wrong for you. I can only tell you what I’ve done and continue to do as of today and will keep doing.

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It took a lot of years for me to get a certain size and weight even though I’ve always been on the thicker side. I’m smart enough to know it won’t come off that easy. But I’m blessed to be able to know that and accept that. That is where the keyword patience comes into this. I have it. I don’t want a quick fix, a gimmick.. even if it works! I don’t want it. Get it away. I want to let my body and brain slowly change. Find those big things (even they are few) I can really change for the better. Find those small things that help along the way. So for a year now I’ve done that. It is has been fun, interesting and at times rewarding. But along the way I’ve been a happy soul. While food is a big part.. happiness is the other. I probably need to write a blog about that another time.

One of the BIGGEST things I’ve done or changed or however you want to say it – WATER. Yes, I’ve drank water prior to this. I’ve always liked it…somewhat. Now I drink it DAILY. I like it before bed. I drink it with most of my meals. I drink NOTHING but water at work. I can’t tell you the last time I’ve had anything outside of water at work. I no longer buy soda for my house and very rarely drink it at resturants. (But I don’t like pass up Vanilla Coke if it is somewhere) I can’t tell you the last time I’ve bought soda for my fridge. I don’t even buy diet soda and frankly because I never drank diet soda before all this. I personally think diet soda is silly. Haha. I want to have soda to have a true soda. So I never got into diet soda through the years. Tried a few but it never impressed me. But back to water, I love it. It is so huge. It is huge for your body, your heath… all of it. And yes, weight loss. I KNOW it has changed me in all departments. I know some people struggle with drinking it. I think some have to learn to like it somehow. But it is good to at least try to find a way to drink it. It is just so good for your body and organs. Think of a person who drinks sweet tea and soda for 90% of what they put into their mouth for their beverages and you cut half of that out or 80% of it… think of what that alone will do. So in my fridge you will find water, juice (usually Lite apple juice from Walmart. Really like it) and 2% milk. Most of my life I’ve drank Vitamin D milk  but over the last few years I’ve went back and forth between the two. But now only buy 2% for my house. But will drink full milk wherever if needed. I haven’t gotten too much wild with my milk intake. I like milk. I think it is normal thing to drink. I don’t drink tons of it. But I like it at least a small glass each day or just what I have with my cereal each morning. I believe I drink less milk than I ever have. BUT… I feel like I will never completely quit drinking it though. It’s fulfilling. I dig milk.

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So that is my notes and comments about my liquid intake. Now food. For me one of the biggest changes has been portions. I learned when to stop. I learned what enough is. And please don’t believe for one second I’m perfect at this. I’m not. Nor do I want to be. Food is wonderful thing. I mean.. hello! I’m not one to stress even if I over-eat on a meal or spend a Sunday eating comfort food. I don’t do “cheat” days. I’m human. I enjoy tasteful things. I have just learned to control and change a big portion of my food intake along the way. But I don’t lose out on things I enjoy. I LOVE sweet tea. Shit. One of the best joys in life but I cut back. I rarely make my own these days anymore. But if I’m at a place that serves REALLY good sweet tea or it’s my Mama’s.. I will drink it. Not a big deal. I can tell you one thing I’ve changed – McDonald’s sweet tea. My go-to snack use to be large fries and sweet tea from McD’s. I got hooked on that. The only things worth a damn from that place. I haven’t had those two things in over year. That is one change I’ve made. I’m not sure how big that is but it’s something. It might be more mental than anything. Just knowing I don’t have the urge anymore. Doesn’t change that they both taste good as hell though. LOL.

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Potato chips. Oh that snack that most Americans love. Whether it is flavored chips or chips and dip. Chips are another thing I cut out of my cabinet. I currently, if I buy chips, get a fat free kind Pringles make. I like it. So I will buy that if I’m in the mood for chips. Now that doesn’t mean I don’t or won’t eat regular chips. I will. It is just I’ve cut them out so, so much out of my life. At home is normally where I ate them before. So not having them in my house is major. The cut back on them has been huge. Chips are wonderful thing but boy they are not healthy. LOL! I think it is because it is that one snack or food that most of us could sit and eat a LOT in one sitting. Like half the bag! Like the fat free Pringles, I also have  found a few other alternatives to chips like Veggie Straws or Reduced Fat Cheez-Its. Those are things that have way less calories and things in them. Just a different and lighter alternative to something like chips. But that doesn’t mean I sit and eat the new in large amounts. Still portions with those too.

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I’ve always liked fruit. But I’ve enjoyed it more or maybe ate it more during this time. I like bananas, strawberries, grapes – green or purple, oranges and apples. I take them as snacks for work or have them for snacks at home. (and even travel) You can’t go wrong with fruit. I have grown strawberries in my garden the last two years. So looking forwarding to them this season. I like to eat a little peanut butter with my apples. Eat basic peanut butter or you can find some that are a littler healthier. Either one won’t kill ya. Fruit is just a great alternative to have as a snack or something to get you by if you feel hungry and it isn’t lunch or supper time yet. Find the fruits you truly like. Maybe it is one or two. One is better than nothing. Fruit is a realistic pure food. Nothing processed, no preservatives and artificial flavors.

Cereal has been a huge factor in my everyday breakfast. I can’t tell you the last time I’ve had a wonderful sausage and cheese biscuit with round hash browns from Hardee’s. Yes. That was something I ate often. It’s been a year now since I’ve had that. My Mama still gets it for my Daddy and brother prior to the work day starting but I always decline it when she does that. (Did this morning actually. Heehee.) I’ve actually had fast-food breakfast only one time in the last year. And that was some kind of breakfast wrap from McD’s on the way to the Outer Banks last summer. I’ve always ate cereal like the average person but I found alternatives to what I normally ate on a weekly basis. My go-to cereal now is Special K (regular, chocolate with almonds or the vanilla almond) and Corn Flakes. I love any Special K actually but those three are my favorites. All are low in calories and all that. Corn Flakes the same – fat free, low calories, etc. I have a small bowl almost every morning… especially Monday through Friday. I bought those small throw-away plastic bowls. It helps me to have a small portion. So that is my breakfast now unless I eat fruit. I recently bought some low-fat oatmeal. Had it a few times. I like it too. So that is another option I have for a daily breakfast. If I really wanted something fried and all that for breakfast I can have it. It is there. But for some reason that hasn’t been a hard one for me. That’s awesome! On the weekends at home if I don’t eat cereal I will do scrambled eggs and turkey bacon or turkey sausage. I hear a lot don’t like turkey meats but I have really enjoyed them. Way less fat and all that. They taste a little different. But it’s a taste I like or I wouldn’t eat it. You can bet on that! So turkey has been another great alternative to other things for me… especially for breakfast or breakfast suppers. And I come to notice breakfast isn’t a must for a lot of people. They just don’t eat it. I have to have it. And I’ve been taught my whole life you should eat SOMETHING for breakfast. And one of my health heroes Chris Powell says you should eat something each morning too! So that’s that!

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Alternatives. A word I type over and over. That is a good thing. For me it is finding something kinda like “the old” but a better healthier option. Or at times A WHOLE LOT better option. You know I talked about happiness earlier in this post and that word goes along with food too. I’m not gonna be unhappy about food. Granted there are people out there who eat VERY healthy or what is considered to be healthy to most of us. Clean eating is what a lot call it too. If a person does that and whole-heartedly enjoys it.. awesome! But you have to be happy in your choices and in your daily life. So finding the balance with food might take some time for some but it is so possible to do.

When I mentioned those small throw-away bowls for breakfast. Something like that has been a small change for me. Okay… yeah it’s not huge. It’s a small change but it is a change. Just like cups I drink out of. I had two yard sales in 2014 and I got rid of most of my big cups. I drink out of nothing but small glasses now. There is a reason for that and in my mind.. it helps me. I drink small portions of anything outside of water. Just goes back to the portion thing. Even if I do falter to Kelley and his Dr. Pepper when he is here. I will drink a little out of small glass. LOL!

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Just some other small tidbits about food and me. I have cut out a LOT of bread. I use to be a huge sandwich eater so that has changed big time. I tend to do more wraps at times if needed. But either way, just less bread in my life. I still like to have a sandwich and will eat one but nothing like I use to do. I buy low calorie bread when I do buy bread. Found a few I like. I rarely buy store bought cookies anymore (another thing I use to do) and when I do, I buy the reduced fat Chips-A-Hoy. Again, a better version of the old. And also again, I LIKE THE TASTE of them. They are drier and lighter but still taste really good to me. That brand of cookie has always been my favorite basic store-bought kind. They are about the only “sweet” thing I even buy at the grocery store for my house… when I do. Something like that… eat one or two and walk away. It is simple. Fast-food is another thing. I didn’t eat a whole lot of fast-food before but I know it is a nice factor to all of this. Most people in my life eat out constantly. Two times a day for some or several times a week. It is just how the world is and how daily schedules are for some. I’m not like that. I rather eat at home. I’ve always thought eating fast-food was like a treat. I like to think of it that way even today. I eat a lot of chicken. I cook chicken. Buy chicken. Bake chicken. Just a good meat to have and eat. And you can do so much with it. I LOVE spinach salads. I was eating kale there for awhile but I love spinach now. The leaf is better to me. Very green and full of nutrients. It has gotten to the point that I don’t even care for regular lettuce salads. I mean I will eat one if that is all there is or the restaurant serves only that. But I love spinach instead. I have found lighter, less fat salad dressings to go with them or sometimes I will just eat the basic ranch. I look at it as a better and lighter meal vs cheeseburger and fries any day of the week.. no matter what kind of dressing I use. Goes back to that way of thinking. Having a balance in your mind. Not over-stressing.

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So as far as my food, I don’t think I’m doing anything spectacular or out of the ordinary. Just making small changes. Finding alternatives. Drink water 24/7 or as much as I can. Small portions. Don’t eat late. Eat lighter meals more than ever. Finding new changes but changes that make me happy the way other food items did. You don’t have to eat rabbit food all the time to do this. I believe in a good hearty meal. I’m a southern girl for crying out loud! Just maintain your portions and consider drinking water with your meals. Think about cutting the worst thing you eat (normally will be some kind of snack food) out of your life completely OR find a better alternative. Or even learn to eat whatever is way less. Find something that will work for you. You won’t know til you try.

Another thing I’ve been doing along the way is to try new things. I have this friend or that friend say… try this. Or Mama will tell me something to do. Or this person started to like this and I should try it. I will do that. Some of the social media accounts I follow will have meals or certain food items and I will try that. But if I don’t like it, I don’t like it. But I will at least TRY it. Surprises are a wonderful thing! I do pay attention to ingredients too. Call me a dork but I do. I don’t over do it. But I see things. I pay attention. I really enjoy finding things I like that are natural, no artificial flavoring and all that. I have recipes that I save I’m going to try or have tried. Even snack foods. I keep an open mind. It is fun to find things to cook or bake.

Food is hard for most of us. People need to get real about food and health though. I don’t care what is on the market or online that will “fix” you. I don’t care what company is trying to sell to you to lose weight. I don’t see those things lasting? They seem to come on strong and then fizzle out? I don’t know.. maybe I’m wrong. Most people can’t even afford products that come and go out there. I know I don’t have the budge for it. But I can afford or budget for food. I believe in eating REAL food. God-given food from the ground. I believe the grocery store and local farmers have all the food we need to do this. I believe we teach our bodies to eat a certain way… a normal satisfying way. Maybe other alternatives work for you and more power to you. But for those of who don’t go that route or have zero interest in it… the simple ways are there for us. Just figure it all out. This comes easy for some but I bet most it doesn’t. But give things a try. Food will be a big part of all this getting healthy and losing extra weight. 80/20 baby. I say it all the time and you will see that a lot. 80% food/kitchen and 20% exercise. I believe it!

P.S. – I don’t drink any alcohol either. The best thing decision I ever made was giving up smoking when I was 27 and leaving alcohol in my 20’s. Because I didn’t drink a little drink. I DRANK. Alcohol would kill my journey today. LOL!

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