I Was Told to Eat to Lose Weight (Part 2)
But I was never told how to eat
Once I realized that any type of food was not acceptable, since some foods possess empty calories — foods that totally lack nutrition, I was on a mission to feed my body whole, nutrient-rich foods.
As I mentioned in part one of this post, I began shopping the produce section — the perimeter of the grocery store to select whole foods (food that goes from farm-to-table — not stripped of nutrients, not processed with chemicals, nor packaged and/or processed with preservatives, and if any, minimal pesticides).
Once I ‘learned the ropes’ in regard to making healthy whole-food choices, (I found they were classified into three types — non-organic, organic, and certified organic), I adapted.
The difference between the three types of whole foods are whether or not chemicals are used. If chemicals are used to grow the food, it’s considered non-organic.
Secondly, if the food that’s grown, meets the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s standards for being organically-grown, it’s organic.
As a third option, if the grower wants to authenticate the integrity of the organically-grown food, the farmer can apply to the USDA to get the plants certified — a rigorous five-step process the farmer must follow to get the “USDA-certified organic” seal.
Yes, I went on a tangent. But I get so excited about eating healthy, because I see the results!
However, to understand and learn how to eat, I had to understand the origin and the process of my food source.
So, once I understood the value of whole foods and the impact they began to have on my body, the benefits outweighed the expense and the inconvenience of preparing them.
As a side note: I’m not a vegetarian. I also eat fish and poultry, which provide me a good source of omega-3 fatty acid (a good essential fat the body needs, but doesn’t naturally produce), and protein, respectively.
I started small when I understood what to eat.
I knew that I needed first and foremost, water (at least eight, 8-ounce cups per day). That’s how I start my day.
When I awake in the mornings, I fill my 30-ounce cup with water. It might take the entire morning to consume it, as long as I’ve finished drinking it by lunchtime.
I also have breakfast filled with protein and fiber in the form of eggs or oats for fiber — perhaps a little fruit and some Greek yogurt.
With water and protein, I very rarely want a healthy snack before lunch. If I do, I’ll eat fresh fruit or a couple of blocks of cacao 95% chocolate (contains potassium and flavonoids — sources good for your heart and blood pressure).
My goal is to eat less, which is what I achieve by having protein. Protein is filling and will curtail my appetite, as well as water.
I also consume another 30-ounces of water in the afternoon. So, my daily water intake is about seven-and-a-half ounces of water daily, sometimes more. For me, it all balances out.
So, what does my plate look like?
A nine-inch plate is sufficient — I don’t want a very large plate, since it’s natural for me to fill it with large portions of food.
- Half of my plate includes non-starchy fruits and veggies.
- One quarter of my plate includes grain and starchy vegetables.
- Then, one quarter includes lean meat /protein.
To control portion sizes, and to adhere to the standards that have been set by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) there’s a chart, only as a guide that I followed until I was able to gauge what, and the amount of food to eat.
The menu of food choices and the nine-inch plate in the photos are tools I use to keep me on track.
Now, I’m not perfect.
I still have my sweet-tooth cravings, and I enjoy them sometimes — in moderation at least once a week.
I’ve heard this behavior called having a “cheat day,” which I don’t encourage, but, it’s not a crime.
What I’ve learned is if I don’t satisfy my cravings once-in-a-while, I’ll set myself up for sabotage, which is the perfect storm for a binge of unhealthy choices — not good.
The portion-control plate and the menu of healthy choices are great beginnings if you want to begin eating to lose weight (of course, complemented by exercise), learning how to eat, and what to eat, or if you just want to adopt a healthier eating lifestyle.
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