Thinking about running and how it affects my efforts at weight loss and weight maintenance last week also got me thinking about my food goals for the year. It seems like a good time to re-evaluate how it is going, particularly the sort of nebulous goal I had of making peace with food and working on focusing on food quality. I think I’m making progress, but I still have work to do.
– While I’m not opposed to artificial sweeteners if the alternative is regular sugar, I could definitely work on cutting back my own usage of them. In particular, I used to have a serious diet soda habit. I’d drink 40+ ounces a day and that’s probably being conservative. Because I’m a little sneaky, even with myself, I set a goal to drink more water rather than planning to decrease my soda intake. It’s easier to focus on the positive, and drinking more water would undoubtedly be a positive thing, than to focus on the negative by taking something away. I set a goal to drink 64 ounces of water a day. I could add lemon to my water but that’s it – coffee or tea didn’t count and Mio or Crystal Light didn’t count (because all of those generally included an artificial sweetener and that’s what I was trying to get away from). I’m happy to say that it is working like a charm! I usually have a diet green tea (which does have an artificial sweetener) at lunch, but otherwise drink water with meals and throughout the day. I drink a big 30 oz cup of water to start the day with breakfast, which helps tremendously in getting to 64 oz. I definitely feel better, in terms of better skin, more energy and less thirsty, than when I drank more soda so I’m glad I snuck this quality change in on myself. Unfortunately, I’ve got to give up my lemon crutch as the dentist said it was hurting my enamel this week. 😦
– I love roasted veggies and usually use Pam (or a store brand spray) instead of butter or oil with the roasting. That’s okay from a calorie perspective, but some of the oils you could use like olive oil actually have health benefits. With a focus on calories (or points) for so long, I tend to slack off in the healthy oils category of my diet. Thus, I’m working on using olive oil (in a reasonable amount) to roast my veggies several times a week. I need to find my mister so I could use that to routinely roast things, but it is lost somewhere in my pantry!
– Shifting to MyFitnessPal has been an interesting experience, in terms of food quality, because it is always easy to see a snapshot of my nutrition for the day beyond just calories or points. For example, I’ve been able to use this snapshot that I’m routinely at or over my sodium goal for the day despite the fact that I don’t salt my food. Turns out, I eat a lot of processed food that sneaks in sodium (even those light green teas!). I also tended to eat a huge portion of my calories in the day from carbohydrates. I’m not such a strenuous runner than I usually need to eat more than 50% of my calories from carbohydrates on an everyday basis, so this week I’ve been working on eating more protein (again focusing on what I’m adding rather than what I’m taking away).
– MyFitnessPal hasn’t been all good. It routinely overestimates how much I should be losing but I’m okay with that because I know my “obesity in remission” metabolism is probably wonky. My pants fit (most of them anyway) so I’ll just trust that my weight will slowly but surely fall back to my pre-Disneyland/cruise range if I stick with this. The important thing is that I’m making tweaks to improve the quality of the food I’m eating and to be sure that everything I’m adjusting results in a way that I’d be willing to eat forever.
For now, I’m going to keep it up with the water and adding protein instead of carb-centric snacks on non-running days. I’ll keep having a healthy mix of protein and carbs in my snack immediately after hard runs. I’ve adjusted my shopping list for the week to lower my sodium in breakfast, targeting one meal at a time. Just a little more each day, right?
How often do you re-evaluate the quality of the food you’re eating? I feel like I’ve been really neglectful of quality in my chase of the all mighty calorie, but I’m making progress.