Sep 10, 2009

Feeling... more like me!

I've been on this DASH diet for 10 days now, and I am really excited because my energy level has gone UP UP UP. I will admit that for the past six months (at least) I have been SO low energy that I was worried - thyroid? diabetes? depression? worse? But from the way I am feeling for the past three days, I'm now guessing the problem was the food I was eating. I got to a point of such low energy that I wasn't even cleaning my house, and you know me - there's something wrong when I don't have a To Do List in hand every morning and a plan for my day! The DASH diet has caused me to eat far more fruit and vegetables (fresh), and almost no red meat. I take in as little sodium/salt as possible (apparently, it's not possible or healthy to eliminate all sodium), very little fats (canola or olive oil only), and much higher (MUCH higher) amounts of whole grains. I laughed out loud yesterday when I looked at what I was eating for lunch - a quinoa salad (with corn, tomatoes and herbs) mixed with a few spoonfuls of couscous leftover from dinner and some low-sodium salsa, with four whole grain high fiber low sodium crackers. I had an apple as well. It was delicious! My normal lunch would be a tuna salad sandwich (or two) and some chips. Dinner was homemade chili from the freezer (made with lots of veggies and turkey instead of beef), over high fiber pasta, and a mixed green salad with spritz-on dressing. After dinner snack was another apple! I've had a shift in my mental state with all this. Although my blood pressure reading wasn't sky-high, it did scare me (both my parents died very young) and I knew immediately that food and exercise was going to be the cure. But I didn't say "weight loss" to myself. Instead, I said, "Eat healthy - it's time to stop fooling around and be concerned about being here in 5 or 10 years." I am not concerned about my weight. I'm concerned about my blood pressure and my high cholesterol (again, before I panic my son and daughter-in-law - it's not sky high, but it's above normal limits. My GOOD cholesterol was actually within normal limits.) I have been overweight since age 6. I come from a line of overweight women, with the exception of my mother. I was a fat child, teenager, and wife. I can starve myself to try and change that, or I can just mentally accept "it is what it is" and instead focus on living longer and just forget about the weight. It is what it is. If it goes down as a result of this DASH diet, all the better. But I am officially releasing all the years of guilt about my weight. And... are you ready for this? I dusted off my treadmill and actually got on it and did a half mile - TWICE - yesterday. Now, a half-mile might not sound like much, but baby, it's a whole lot better than spending that same exact amount of time planted in my chair in front of the TV! SOME is better than NONE in the case of exercise! Another mental switch is I'm not feeling the "I will never be able to eat.. (fill in any favorite food here)..." I'm not going to say that. I'm going to follow the lead of Michelle Obama (let's disregard her politics, please) who has a 90-10 rule she follows. She eats "healthy" 90% of the time, which allows her to indulge 10% of the time. I'm taking that a bit further with a 95-5 rule. We will continue to adhere to the DASH diet and eating healthy, but once a month or so if we want to go out to eat and enjoy some of our favorite foods, we'll do it. Jeff and I have never gone out to eat very often - once a month or so - and that won't change. But if we do go out, so be it. I'm not going to panic about having restaurant food now and then. If I've had a tough day of babysitting and want to order a pizza instead of cooking, I will. But I will also just have two slices instead of half a large pizza, and serve up a side salad to go with it. Guilt-free. It's a totally foreign concept to me!

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