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My New Years Resolution at the beginning of 2007 was to overhaul my diet. I made simple changes at a gradual rate over the course of the year. I never felt as though I was "dieting" and since working out more, I actually crave foods that are good for me.
Has anyone else experienced this? Or are you thinking of overhauling your diet? Can you share with us an example of a simple change that you made to become a healthier eater? I think this will be a valuable discussion for the community. Thanks for your participation!
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Social Media Specialist | Endurance Sports
I've made a few simple changes to my diet that I think have been very helpful. I don't eat any less, I just eat "smarter". For example, I will often make myself a bowl of popcorn (air popped) for an evening snack and I will not add salt or butter. I try and read labels and do my best to minimize high fructose corn syrup. I try and eat whole grains as often as possible instead of refined flour. I eat lots of fruits and vegetables. My snack/dessert of choice is Kashi Go-Lean Crunch cereal.
I recently started back into running as a result of changing my way of eating. I used to have the stereotypical office worker diet of lots of coffee for breakfast, cram down a lunch, stave off the afternoon sleepies with more coffee and snacks (Fritos, usually), then a big dinner and a couple of beers to counteract the residual caffeine from after lunch. I read a book about increasing and balancing my energy that suggested eating small amounts throughout the day, around 150-200 calories every 90 minutes. Although it seemed hokey and impractical, I gave it a shot.
It only took about a week and all of a sudden, if I didn't have a cup of coffee in the morning, no biggie, as my morning snack woke me up. I didn't crash after lunch (which is now much smaller, although bigger than 'optimal', about 300 calories), and dinner doesn't put me on the couch for the night. I didn't really expect to start eating healthier, but just looking at the calorie count versus 'snackability' caused me to start eating better (a vending machine bag of Doritos would have to be split up into two snack times, versus a banana, some crackers and a little peanut butter for each snack time.) My energy levels increased, and I don't crash like I used to. Also, looking at the nutrition of various things made me choose better foods, not as some sort of punishment for being out of shape (the dreaded diet syndrome) but as a reward for getting off my duff.
Overall, after a month eating this way, I had enough excess energy that I went for an evening walk, which turned into a short jog. Seven weeks after that, I finished my first 5K in over 20 years, beating my 30 minute goal time with a 27:40!
My wife must have noticed some change, as she is now in week 4 of the C25K program. She's also noted that she craves different (healthier) food now than she did before she started exercising.
Later, gotta 45 minute run on the schedule and the weather is beautiful today.
I think the first main step in trying to eat healthier is changing to whole wheat everything ( unless of course you have an allergy) My professor from a nutriton class that I took said that the "white diet" (white bread,white pasta, potatoes. etc) is high in calories and low in essential nutrients. If you must... try eating these things only in moderation. Whole wheat and whole grain are also extremely helpful in loosing weight because they are loaded with dietary fiber! It is also important that your largest meals of the day be breakfast, and lunch...try eating a light dinner. My breakfast usually consists of granola (bear naked banana nut is my favorite) yogurt, fruit, and whole wheat toast. It gives me alot of energy and keeps me plenty full until lunch!!
> My breakfast usually consists of granola (bear naked banana nut is my favorite) yogurt, fruit, and whole wheat toast. It gives me alot of energy and keeps me plenty full until lunch!!
While I recommend people stick with what works for them, you may want to consider swapping a high protein/fiber cereal in for the granola. I remember reading an article in Runner's World that mentioned Bear Naked is ridiculously high in calories.
Yeah, I actually did buy some kashi high protein cereal the other day. I read at runningforforittness.org that for the training I am doing that I shiuld get 20% of my calories from protein, 63% from carbs, and 17% from fat. This has been a bit of a challenge for me because I am a vegetarian , so getting my a lot of calories from protein and less in fat has been a bit difficult. For example nuts are good sources of protein but are also high in fat...it's just been hard to find a balence. I've just been doing a lot of experimenting so far, then doing the caluculating of the percentages at thedailyplate.com. so far I have found egg whites to be a good source of protein that is also low in fat Thanks for the tip though....I know that there are more nutritous and lower cal alternitives to granola...I just love the taste.
For a higher protein snack, I've also used Kashi Go Lean (the regular has 13 grams of protein and I think it's 1 gram of fat... great ratio). But I've also begun using no fat cottage cheese, and some "veggetarian meats" from a company called Cedar Lake and Loma Linda. The right low fat links have a lot of protein (about 10 grams) and again, low fat.
Thanks for the tip! I did start eating Kashi Go Lean about a week ago after someone suggested it to me at Whole Foods. I absolutley love it...and I can't believe that there is only 1 gram of fat! I also bought the Kashi Protein powder to mix with skim milk..it is low in fat, but high in calories. I was thinking about cottage cheese but I can't stand the taste! I've tried to mask it before with a ton of fruit, and still couldn't eat it. Maybe I should try it again though
I was thinking about cottage cheese but I can't stand the taste! I've tried to mask it before with a ton of fruit, and still couldn't eat it.
What about plain fat-free yogurt? The flavored varieties are usually loaded with sugars or artificial sweeteners (which have been found to really screw with your body in a wide variety of ways), but I love yogurt with fruit or mixed in with my cereal and soy milk. It's got protein and probiotics!
For dinner I start with a big spinach salad with olive oil. All my friends think I'm crazy because I'm always eating so much spinach, but I feel it's one of the best vegetables out there and very low in calories. I also like to start the morning with a bowl of oatmeal, banana, Stoneyfield yogurt, and a cup of green tea. A big breakfast is crucial for starting the day.
All my friends think I'm crazy because I'm always eating so much spinach, but I feel it's one of the best vegetables out there and very low in calories. I also like to start the morning with a bowl of oatmeal, banana, Stoneyfield yogurt, and a cup of green tea. A big breakfast is crucial for starting the day.
It seems like we have similar eating habits (although I'm not a big tea drinker). I eat so much salad it's scary (I avoid them, however, for a couple days before races because they add so much bulk and I don't want that sitting in my gut when I'm going for speed). I love to use spinach, carrots, red bell pepper, cucumbers, tomatoes, hearts of palm, and a small amount of walnuts or cashews. I dress it with balsamic and a touch of olive oil. I also like to start my day with a bowl of cereal (Go-Lean Crunch), a banana, a scoop of fat-free yogurt, and soy milk. On a side note, I find that salsa and fat-free yogurt (rather than sour cream) makes a really good topping for a wide range of meals (not just tacos and burritos).