Sunday, May 16, 2010

Practice What You Preach

In the past ten years or so I've been very good at maintaining my weight.  It's not my preferred weight, but not far off.  But in the past year and a half it has crept up a solid 5 lbs.  I know there are many people who are struggling with a lot more than 5 lbs, so forgive me, but really this isn't the last 5 lbs, it's 5lbs over my steady weight which again is not my preferred weight. So lets say a collective 10lbs is what I would like to shed.

I know how to maintain weight, I also know how to lose weight, I guess we all do, we just don't practice what we preach.  We also like to over rationalize our choices, or at least I do.  So I've drawn a line in the sand for myself, because I am not going buy anything the next size up. Nada.

The thing about losing weight is people like to get extreme, but while that may serve a short term goal, it usually ends up in a a lose/lose situation and I'm not talking about weight.  Number one - Move.  Exercise more days of the week than not.  You can get military about this if you want, but I think it's more important to do it, whatever form it takes.  Go to the gym, walk, ride your bike, whatever, just do it.  Also, make sure you are incorporating strength training in there, this gets even more important as you get older and your body starts losing muscle mass. 

Exercise is important, is helps keep us from turning into weaklings who have trouble just getting out of bed in the morning or climbing a flight of stairs.  But in the world of weight loss, eating right is key.  I again apply the theory of tipping the scales in the positive direction without going crazy.  My rule is to make good or at least better choices most of the time.  And when you don't or can't do that, don't over indulge.  I also find that my metabolism responds well to eating frequently.  It's best to try and get something in your system no later than an hour after you wake up, and then try to have something every three hours or so.

What does making the right choices mean?  It means lean protein as much as possible.  Good complex carbs are important, choose whole grain whenever possible and know the difference.  This is why defaulting to cheese tortellini on lazy nights has not benefited my waistline.  I also think less animal products and more tofu and veggies is helpful.  This is probably because of my next guideline, keep your saturated fat intake low. 

Reading food labels makes a huge difference.  I have saved myself many a bad chunk of calories by educating myself and using black and white facts to overrule my rationalization that something like having three Lindt dark chocolate truffles is not that bad. If you are curious, those three truffles contain 12 grams of saturated fat.  One is enough.  The next thing to look out for is sugar.  Try to avoid added sugar whenever possible and beware of the empty calories from alcohol.  Yes, that means I need to drink less wine.

Now that I've said all that, lets go back to the most important rule - making good or better choices most of the time.  This I cannot stress enough, because what I am really talking about is moderation.  Live a little, deprivation will only result in failure.  Have the cake at the birthday party, it's ok.  Just don't eat cake everyday.  If you can get this into to practice you can live this way forever, which probably means you will live longer.

I've finished my preaching, so as the title of this post states, I need to practice it.  I've done well the past few days and am already reaping the benefits.  I love healthy food, it just needs to be tasty.  I get bored easily and I get lazy.  I picked up a new cookbook today to help me out.  It's Tosca Reno's East Clean Cookbook.  Lots of good healthy and tasty recipes.  I'll provide some reviews as I test some of the recipes out.


Naomi said...

But how I love those empty wine calories! I'm on a similar mission, but my exercise keeps getting thwarted. Once school is out I plan to keep on getting up early so I can get my exercise before the kids wake up.

Mikostinko said...

Yeah, I sacrifice other calories so I can keep some of the empty wine ones. :)