Foodalicious Friday—Kind Of…

Posted: March 11, 2011 in Articles

It’s been 10 weeks since we started the Move It & Lose It weight-loss competition at my office. I haven’t talked about it since it began—heck, I didn’t even do the halfway weigh-in! I didn’t buy a scale either, and the first time I weighed myself was this past Wednesday. You’re probably thinking, “What the heck…” Why did I do what I did and what did I learn over the past 10 weeks? (My final numbers after my spiel.)

When I entered this competition I wanted to lose weight, yes, but I was more focused on toning up and challenging my body. I wanted to push myself to new limits to see what I could do. So I signed up to become an AFAA certified group exercise instructor. I started substitute teaching a few exercise classes. I started trying a bunch of different fitness classes (Pilates, yoga, Zumba, kickboxing). I began lifting more frequently and heavier. I signed up for a 25K. Where’d that get me? Farther than I thought, both mentally and physically.

I learned firsthand that “diet” is a word, and it’s a sad excuse for a lifestyle. A “diet” is not realistic, nor is it healthy. People who claim to be on “diets” now are more likely to be overweight in 10 years than those who are not. That’s a real statistic. “Diets” are synonymous with eating little, working out a lot, and not being able to eat certain foods. I hate that. That’s not real, that’s not life. I’ve tried to be on a “diet” and it doesn’t work. I end up binging on candy and chocolate. Followed by pizza and ice cream. Followed by heaping servings of carbs. Not cool. These past 10 weeks have taught me that it really is all about balance and that in order to push yourself physically, as an athlete (which I still consider myself to be), you need to fuel your body. Eating is for replenishing your energy and feeding the joints, muscles, and bones that just pushed you to run 6 or 7 miles and lift afterward. It’s about a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating well and exercising, yes, but it also includes a healthy social life and sleep. If you eat sensibly—or cleanly, as I prefer to call it—most of the time (this includes your fruits, veggies, nuts, lean meats, yogurts, etc.), then that pizza and beer while watching your alma mater play on a Saturday during March Madness isn’t going to kill you. And when you strive to eat cleanly, you crave cleaner, rawer foods, and your body can’t handle as large of quantities of the not-as-clean-and-pure foods.

I also learned that when I’m hungry—truly hungry—even if I just ate lunch an hour ago, I should have something. A piece of fruit is my first choice and that usually helps. Deprivation is disastrous. I hate when people say “I haven’t cheated on my diet so far.” What does that mean!? That you didn’t have that gourmet piece of chocolate that you were given as a gift? That you couldn’t have pizza during the lunch meeting? That you couldn’t have a beer with your friends at Happy Hour? That’s not fun and it’s not healthy either. The phrase “I haven’t cheated” makes me cringe. You only get one life—having that piece of gourmet chocolate won’t make you gain 5 pounds. It’s about balancing the processed food with the raw food, and exercise with your social/everyday life.

I have much more to say on this topic, but I’ll cut it off here and share my final numbers. I really wasn’t expecting to lose a lot… I didn’t stay quite as on-track as I could have, but oh well, I didn’t radically change my life the past 10 weeks and I’m proud to say I’m happy and don’t feel deprived. J

Starting weight: 125.4 pounds (which is a little lower than I thought)
Starting body fat %: 28.5% (definitely more than I thought!)

End weight: 117.2 pounds
End body fat %: 26.2%

Total weight lost: 8.2 pounds
Total body fat % lost: 2.2%

My reaction? I’m very happy with those numbers. I weighed in less than I thought, which was a pleasant surprise. My new goal is maintain the weight and work on lowering the body fat some more. Why? Because that’s the number that should be everyone’s priority.

Now for a few food-related facts to take the place of recipes.

Did you know that Americans consume an average of 82 grams of added sugar a day? That’s more than you’d find in six Breyers Oreo Ice Cream Sandwiches! But the truth is, a good part of the excess sweet stuff isn’t coming from ice cream or cookies or even soft drinks—it’s coming from the sources we’d least expect. Food manufactures have an arsenal of empty carbohydrates at their disposal, and they’re not shy about using them to make everything we eat taste like candy.

Carb Check—these 8 foods often contain higher numbers of sugar and carbs than you’d think! What are the numbers in each of these that you eat?

  1. Cereal
  2. Granola
  3. Wheat bread
  4. Crackers
  5. Nutrition bars
  6. Yogurt
  7. “Healthy” drinks (think V8 juices, Snapples, bottles of green tea, etc.)
  8. Tomato sauce

Now you’re probably thinking, “OK, what is on the healthier side for me to eat!?” Check out these links—thank you Men’s and Women’s Health magazines!
Best Foods for Women
Best Foods for Men

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