How To Make Healthier Food Choices

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Healthy-Eating-101I was catching up on The Biggest Loser on Hulu the other morning. I just love that show even though sometimes I think they are a little extreme with their expectations. The stories are so inspiring and motivating to hear. As I was watching, something one of the contestants said really jumped out at me. The trainer Dolvett (my favorite!) asked how she let herself get as unhealthy as she did. She answered exactly how I would have. “I had no idea my eating was so bad and I was so out of shape.” Just like her, I had no idea at the time.

Yes, there were some obvious choices that were off the rails. Hello, double donut/venti full fat whipped cream latte breakfast. But it was a bit more complicated than that. I was eating a lot of fat free things, low fat things, lean and healthy microwave meals, pasta, and so on. I wasn’t overweight. In fact, I was right in the middle of my weight range according to the chart. My doctor never said there was anything to worry about. She was merely looking at the scale and nothing else.

It turned out I was still 34% body fat (obese!) with a cholesterol of 249. Gah, talk about unhealthy! I hadn’t a clue what I was supposed to be eating for health until I found Trainer Man a couple years ago. (Insert yet another sincere thank you to him for being the first person to look under the covers and be real with me.) In addition to an exercise routine, he also helped layout an eating plan to go along with it. I followed the plan. I ate what he told me and all was good. Problem solved… or so I thought.

Eventually I decided to compete and picked a contest date. Much like many dieters and resolution makers, I had a goal date and weight to reach. I made it to the end and the suddenly I found myself lost on what to do and what to eat. I didn’t have an eating plan to follow anymore. I couldn’t use the old ones because those weren’t enough calories. My metabolism was also different than when I started. Was I supposed to just eat larger servings of everything? How much larger? How did I work in treats?

It was especially bad since not only had I had someone to hold my fork hand for 12 months, at the end I also had 8 solid weeks of all kinds of yummy deprivation leading up to the end date. No cheats whatsoever during that time since I had to be focused. I got to the date and suddenly nothing was off limits and the world was an all you can eat buffet. Slurp. I think a lot of you may be able to relate to the same thing as you diet and/or reach your goal weight.

Some of you may be trying a weight loss program where you get meals delivered or prepared for you or you get detailed plans to follow. Some of you may be struggling with how and what to eat to get to your goal without a plan. Maybe you aren’t even trying to lose weight but you just want to eat for health. You cut things out from your eating. You exercise and stay on track until you reach your goal, but then what? You can find healthy meal plans all over the place, but they are usually generic based on an average weight. They don’t necessarily apply to everyone.

It took a lot of trial and error in the beginning, and then a lot of research, and then nutrition classes and certification. This last year I really feel like I have knowledge on healthy eating and feel confident that I’m making good food choices… or at least know when I’m choosing not to. We don’t always have to make healthy choices, but we shouldn’t have to wonder if the choice is healthy or not. I also now know how to figure out how much I should be eating on a daily basis and can make adjustments up or down when I need to.

I thought I’d share some of my eating journey with you over the next few posts in case it helps you find your way to figuring things out for you and your family. I plan to share how I figure out how many calories I should be eating, healthier food choices and meal planning, and other tips. Keep in mind that I’m not a dietician or medical professional and you should always follow the instructions of your doctors and other health advisors, but I’d love to share what has worked for me and what I’ve learned. Feel free to ask questions too. I’m always happy to share.

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