I made a Facebook comment that raised questions & I wanted to address it. Several years ago I found myself extremely obese, miserable & unhappy with the way I let myself get out of shape. This happened over a course of time & I knew better. I had worked in nursing my entire life & saw first hand the effects obesity played in disease processes & quality of life. Dietary non-compliance is a self-centered, self-inflicted death sentence with no respects to age.
In previous years I had successfully lost weight utilizing Sugar Busters as a lifestyle. I never referred to it as a diet, because it had to become who I was. I started this lifestyle again when one of my best friends underwent gastric bypass surgery. In an attempt to support her, I learned what / how she could eat & I was also going to incorporate these to help me lose weight. Win/win! Here were the most important details.
1. Eat only the amount of food that fits in the palm of your hand when cupped. This typically can be measured as 1/2 -1 cup. Don’t freak, trust me it’s not only doable, but will be sufficient.
2. Eat several small meals daily
3. Do not waste calories on non-nutritional food choices. Instead include a balance of protein, carbs, & fats
4. Sip small amounts of liquids during meals
5. No carbonated drinks
6. No battered meats. This is a total waste of nutrition
7. Exercise daily- not necessarly food choices, but this is important in metabolism, toning muscle, & preventing saggy skin as you lose weight.
Thus my friend “support” began. I was already following Sugar Busters, so I instituted portion control. I have to admit this was strange at first, but it became easier. It takes 20 minutes before your brain registers you’re full. Truth is, you’ve already eaten too much before you’re full. If you push away from the table feeling stuffed or miserable, you’ve completely overeaten. This is why sound nutritional judgement is essential. The first twinge of fullness is your sign to stop, not when your plate is empty. Resources reveal drinking large amounts of liquid with meals not only robs food of nutritional value, but it causes a pseudo full feeling forcing the need to eat sooner than necessary. The stomach can hold a minimum of 500 ml. or 1/2 liter. A 44 oz. cup is 1301mls. Not only are you stretching your tummy, but washing away any nutritional value food could possibly have. These factors alone contribute to our nations epidemic of obesity & malnutrition. It sounds like an oxy moron, but it exists. I suggest watching the documentary, “Super Size Me.” Our nation responded appropriately.
The first few days of portion control were weird. When my stomach signaled hunger, I ate small portions to turn the signal off. When it signalled being full, my psyche had to completely adjust at the amount that satisfied hunger. Several small meals actually prevented my body from becoming overly hungry, increased my metabolism, therefore resisting to urge to store fat. Being on Sugar Busters eliminated poor food choices.
I began noticing I could no longer eat a regular plate of food, so I purchased less in groceries to bring meals to work. I already didn’t purchase alot of junk food for home & Sugar Busters shrank that even more. Buffet restaurants were a waste of time & money. Sharing meals with friends saved money & I could eat off any fast food menu for $2 max. At that time I was a single parent & my friends were other single parents so…. this was a huge advantage. See a pattern here?? Shrinking my meal size while instituting healthier choices not only caused my stomach to shrink, but saved money in my budget. I also wanted to believe these choices were a great example for my son, who was still at home. Obesity related disease processes lead to time loss from work or job loss from disabilities. This, in turn, leads to financial strain within families, relational compromise, & more. Wow!! Who knew food or rather misguided use of it could cause such dilimmas?? Money spent inappropriately in food is one of the largest budget busters of all time. Somehow food moved being a sustaining life force to a pleasurable destructive force. We shouldn’t live to eat, but eat to live.
Over the course of two years I lost 100 lbs. My stomach would quickly let me know it had enough. It actually physically hurt to even look at a Big Gulp sized cup. I felt marvelous, had more energy & my self esteem increased. I went from size 22-24 clothing to 10-12 & some 8-10’s. I never added the exercise factor, but by losing this amount of weight over an extended period of time, I was never saggy!! I realize now had I added exercise, I would’ve accomplished it faster!! But… I kept it off longer!! In reading books by the leading economist, Paul Zane Pilzer, I learned how nutrition, self esteem & money went hand in hand. He suggests that empowering people to take control of their diet /health enables them to become empowered in every area. I highly suggest reading “The Wellness Revolution & The Next Millionaires.” His books are insightful beyond description.
In the past couple of years I’ve gained some, but definitely not all, of my weight back simply because I became lax in my eating habits. As the book, “The Slight Edge” teaches…..it’s easy to do & easy not to do!! In being associated in a health & wellness business I did, however, become more & more health conscious. Watching the documentary, Food, Inc., changed my life. Learning about genetically modified foods, meat processing, hidden FDA approved practices, etc,. seriously woke me up. My new charted course was to eliminate fast foods, GMO’s, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, become 100% all natural / all organic, support locally raised producers, & more. I was now accountable to what I witnessed during my years in the medical field, & also what I’d recently been educated on. If I develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc., it was completely self-inflicted. I had the knowledge & self control to reduce these risks.
So…..I am armed, ready & excited to lose the added weight, become physically fit & feel good about it. I’ve been steadily practicing portion control & I’m definitely feeling the change. Educating myself has caused me to walk away from foods I would have otherwise allowed. While Sugar Busters helped me eliminate certain foods, I’ve fine tuned it. I believe preparing mentally by recognizing what triggers unhealthy eating habits is critical. I’ve met numerous post gastric bypass candidates who have gained their weight back & more. This saddens me knowing the expense of the surgery was just wasted. Yes, just as you can shrink your stomach, you can stretch it again. Root sources must be dealt with & I must deal with mine daily!! Here are some of those daily health & budget practices:
1. I rarely now, if ever, eat fast food regardless of being hungry or how convenient they are. Once you watch Food, Inc., you won’t either!! I avoid chain restaurants to support locally owned & operated establishments. I read every label of food I am not familiar with. If I can’t pronounce it, I don’t eat it. Period. For instance … do you know what’s in your ice cream? Even some of my favorite Braums, Blue Bell, Ben & Jerry’s?? Nope. I resort to locally owned places who make home-made gelato. Afrah’s in Richardson!! 75 N> Main street exit #24B. You know I love them now right? I know that’s an isolated example, but seriously ….. read labels. If you must purchase ice cream, I suggest Breyers or the all natural from Aldi.
2. I confess. I love chicken just about anyway you prepare it. I haven’t been a fan of red meat for quite some time, but chicken is my love with tilapia or salmon in second place. I used to eat Popeye’s chicken every Tuesday because I could eat 2 pieces for $1.07. Hey that was frugal & portion controlled right?? Right, except it contributed to the obesity-malnourished epidemic!! From July 5, 2011- Jan 5, 2012 I went without eating one piece of fried chicken. Once I ate it again, I realized it wasn’t worth adding it back in my life!! I make things myself & have my own rotisserie. It’s excellent for chicken, pork loin & veggies. Even better…..no preservatives & budget conscious. I’ve recently discovered Pollo Regio. A locally owned mexican restaurant that serves the best grilled chicken I’ve had in forever. I’m not sure of their ingredients, but I am learning Spanish!! That will be a special treat only!! Chipoltle is my choice for southwestern style burritos as they are a featured supporter of pasture raised animals. Their amazing story is shown in Food, Inc. Since their portions are so large, I have two meals for the price of one burrito bowl. Portion controlled, frugal & nutritious. Yay!
3. I went from drinking Diet Coke & sweet tea to water with lemons. Maybe twice yearly I’ll have a DC. When I had my knee surgery I purchased Sierra Mist because it contains real sugar. It took every fiber of my being to drink Sprite in the recovery room!! Do you know how much you can shave off your bottom line charge when eating out by just drinking water?? Lemons are such a tremendous benefit as well. Read about it!! Some sources reveal using lime or lemon in water may avoid some food borne sickness when eating out. I’ve completely eliminated all sugar substitutes & I’ve recently reduced my sugar consumption used in coffee / hot tea to half. I use only organic sugar & local, raw honey. My favs are a Whole Food vegan (as if sugar cane has a heart right?) or Zulka, a mexican variety.
4. I rarely ever go to Starbucks. This was more of a budget buster & over rated addiction for me. When I do go, I get the coffee of the day. When traveling & want coffee, I stop at McDs (the only thing I buy from there!!) When meeting a business partner locally, I meet at Oak Lawn Coffee or Buzzbrews. Oak Lawn is locally owned using their coffee to support local causes. Buzzbrews coffee is $2.50, bottomless & oh so good! An added bonus…..Buzzbrews offers vegan/vegetarian choices & purchase all their bread from a local indy baker. Alternative sources are available if you seriously value your health & budget.
5. Farmers markets are wonderful, but I always ask where their products are from to avoid purchasing food overages from chain distributors. I primarily shop from Aldi,Kroger,Sprouts, Whole Foods, or Central Market. Again…read labels.
I know you think this must be expensive, but they are more economical than Walmart. I purchase enough veggies/fruit for three days at a time only. When I bought more, it wasted, causing me to throw money in the trash. Nutritious & frugal. This requires meal planning, but is so worth it. Buying fresh veggies supports my preservative free practice!!
6. I’m lactose intolerant & drank soy milk for over 10 yrs. Food,Inc. exposed Monsanto GMO soybeans, so I boycotted by switching to rice milk. It’s made from brown rice which is essentially a protein. I support a cause & provide an alternative protein source. This was a huge sacrifice because I loved soy milk, but you know what?? I fell in love with Rice Dream Vanilla milk! I have now switched to Aldi Unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk. I sweeten with stevia for eating cereal.
My yogurt of choice is Aldi greek yogurt. Of course they are all natural, hormone free, yada-yada. That’s a given!! Every day for breakfast eat one yogurt with probably 2 Tbsp Flax/Chia mixture purchased from Big Lots. It’s yummylicious!
Do yourself & your kids justice by reading yogurt labels. They’re frightening!!
7. Grain/ nut sources are important & I choose those carefully. I rarely, if ever buy bread just to have at home. When I do, it’s Ezekiel or Genesis bread found in the freezer section because it’s live sprouts. It’s a complete protein source & good. Pastas are rare, but I generally get the vegetable trio. I do love glass looking rice noodles & my mac & cheese is Ann’s organic brand. Although I don’t eat rice alot, I love Jasmine, Brown, or Basmati rice. Without consciously doing this, I’ve eliminated gluten almost completely. Quinoi is my newest love. It’s fabu with sauteed veggies!! I purchase unsalted nuts & grind my peanut butter fresh at Kroger, Central Market or Whole foods. I won’t even buy the containers they graciously grind for us! I buy small quantities to avoiding spoiling. There’s nothing better than PB on my banana!
8. My friend had been following the blood type diet achieving great results not only in the way she feels, but with losing weight. I read that book eighteen years ago & said I’d NEVER do that. Want to know something funny? In my process of eliminating bad food & becoming health conscious, I’ve perfectly adopted the Type A diet without even knowing it. Never say never.
9. My most recent dietary elimination is excess use of salt. You have to understand how big of a deal this is. I was the kid who would sneak rock salt to school & pass it out like candy. It was nothing for me to simply pour salt in my hand & just eat it. Everything was better with salt. Grapefruit, apples, watermelon, canteloupe, tomatoes, avacado, celery & more.
Well…..salt isn’t my friend due to making my ankles swell. Cankles aren’t attractive! This adjustment meant not eating bottomless bags of sunflower seeds, jerky, pickled delicacies, bacon,(What?)sausage, & etc. I switched to sea salt & most recent, pink hymalayian only. Guess what? By consistently following a raw food diet several times a year & resisting the urge to add salt, things are now often too salty for me. This one process eliminated yet another entire group of unhealthy food choices. Yaaaaaaaay!
10. The final tidbit is drinking more water. I mentioned earlier not to drink so much with meals, but this advice is targeted throughout your entire day. From the moment you get up until you go to sleep, adjust your water intake way up. Unless you are on fluid precautions, drinking a gallon of water every day should be a goal. More often than not, we eat instead of adequately hydrating our body. We mistake thirst for hunger, hit vending machines (another blog entirely!), & rob ourself from the opportunity to crash the viscous cycle of being healthy. I consider the water used to take my morning supplements, drinking during work hours, my drive home, dinner meals & even the water I drink when I get up during the night. One gallon is an easy measure to accomplish. Be creative. Use sliced cucumber with mint, lemon, ginger & etc. Before long, you’ll crave it!
So you see…self-shrinking your stomach & adopting a healthy lifestyle really is possible. I’m already down a size by reinstituting this practice.
Discipline yourself by instituting several small,nutritionally balanced, quality meals while decreasing the quantity. Add exercise & you’ll accomplish so much more than weight loss. Commit to your health because you & your family are so beyond worth it.