Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Healthy fall eating with (finally!) pleasing results

Before I launch into my topic of the day, I wanted to mention that my gigantic class went pretty well today. It seemed to go even better than last spring. The students were very attentive, especially at the outset, and many of them emailed me afterward to ask if I could send them the little cheat sheet to finding materials that I had displayed during the class. I finished up early (which was my goal) and it was only in the last 10 minutes that I could sense the natives getting restless. Some stirring and shifting of positions, trips to the bathroom, etc. Everybody seemed to be following along and smiling at my jokes. Only 1 person fell asleep; for 230 students, I say that's a score!

Anyway, I thought I'd write about healthy eating and weight loss today, since I've been focusing on that for the past couple of months. Since the start of the year, I've managed to lose 11 pounds, including the final 5 from my pre-pregnancy weight (yes, 5 YEARS LATER, but still, it counts!). I haven't really done anything too revolutionary, but I figured I'd share what I did do, since this is the happiest I've been with my weight since I got married.

Like all women, I often fixate on my weight, even though I'm not overweight. Even 11 lbs. heavier, I was still within the normal range for my height. But I just felt a tad out of shape, and I knew that with a little motivation and hard work, I could do better. I think it's important to note that I had a realistic goal. No size 0 fantasies for this Catholic girl. I'm 5'6" tall, and my goal was 135 lbs. Nothing short of total starvation is ever going to bring me below 130. And that's fine with me. I have no illusions of seeing 110 lbs. or some such notion. I think my bones alone weight more than that.

So, with that in mind, this is what I did:

(1) Walked every day. I'm a gym denier. I just don't like gyms. There's nothing wrong with them of course, if you like them, but I know that I would never get my moneys worth out of a membership. I'm a homebody, and after work I want to slip into comfy pants and knit. There's no way I'm heading back out for a 5 mile treadmill run. So, no matter what was going on in my day, I use half of my lunch break for a brisk walk around campus. I've done this in the past too, but I had fallen out of the habit.

(2) Stopped snacking between meals. This one is so tough, but it's a must for weight loss.

(3) Watched my portions. This one was the key for me. I often eat just because something is there. I'm a hearty eater - no delicate picking at of a side salad for me. I enjoy food, and I like to eat. So, I eat what I want, I just make sure to be aware of how much I'm eating of it. And I don't need to go up for seconds, really I don't. I got better at realizing "oh, I'm full" and then putting my plate in the dishwasher.

(4) Made healthier choices. Stock more fresh fruit and vegetables in the house, and whole grains. I've actually really enjoyed this process. And the autumn is great for this - healthy slow cooker recipes and casseroles. I can pre-prepare meals the night before, which guarantees we don't throw together something quick and regrettable in our tiredness after a workday. We don't really ever eat fast food, so that's good, but too many times I'd ad hoc something out of the cupboards/refrigerator that just wasn't the more caloric-happy choice for me.

(5) Do strength training with 5-8 lb hand weights 1-2 times per week. We're talking very family-friendly here. 15 minutes, tops, with Hank interrupting me regularly as he "helps me" and works with his little 3 pounders.

So...that's it :) Whenever I manage to lose weight, it's always because I found a solution that still allows me to eat the things I love. I don't ever want to live on salad greens and gross-looking shakes. No sir. Life is too short for that.

I was just very motivated lately. With the heart disease that runs in my family, and of course, increased age, I knew it was a good idea for me to be at my fighting weight for these reasons too. It's just healthier, and it sets a good example for Hank.

So, here's hoping I don't fall off the wagon :)

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