You know those Yahoo headlines? I'm not much of a sucker for them. I know that the corresponding story is going to be a) something I already know or b) different from what the headline promises or c) a waste of time. But, now and then the nutrition / health ones do draw me in. I liked the one I read recently - it's about how people who are lean abide by certain "rules" to stay that way.
None of these things were news to me . . . I've dieted, exercised, and read enough health, diet & exercise magazines and books over the years to have found out about these "rules." But, it was a good reality check about whether or not I follow these on a regular basis.
A certain number on a scale isn't my goal and I believe that being healthy requires a lifestyle commitment to eating nutritious food and exercising regularly. Even though I know that intellectually, I still struggle with my serious sweet tooth (next post: cake) and have recently had to cut down on the number of workouts I'm able to do per week. One of the areas I've noticed that I do poorly in (not in the article) is the amount of liquid calories that I consume. So, I'll be honest and give you the rules from the article with my personal evaluation of how I'm doing:
#1 - Lean people don't diet - Truthfully, I probably would diet if I thought it would work or if I had more self discipline. But, I don't. Now and then, I do a fast from all sugar and white flour and it makes a huge difference but other than that, I eat what I think is healthy, fresh, and try to choose proteins over carbs (more on #5).
#2 - Lean people don't go fat-free - I buy non-fat dairy products for myself and my husband (whole for the kiddos) and watch my saturated fat, but I don't buy "fat-free" things because of that label. I'm more interested in finding foods with no added sugar than I am snacks with no fat (example: KIND bars, trail mix, etc. - high in "good" fats but no added sugar).
#3 - Lean people sit down to eat - Does eating in the car count? I usually stand to eat breakfast while I'm making my kids' breakfasts, feeding them, and on school days, making my daughter's lunch. My biggest downfall is lunch and sometimes I drive through fast food if I'm out and in a hurry (usually BRC burritos at El Pollo Loco or coffee and a bistro box at Starbucks). We always sit at the table for dinner.
#4 - Lean people know what they're going to eat next - I think about food all day. Honestly. I'll lay in bed at night thinking about what I'm going to eat for breakfast in the morning. I'll be working out and thinking about what snack I'm going to have afterward. I plan our dinners and know what I'm eating for dinner for a week. But, I do snack on things that I don't intend to eat. Like the open box of cookies or my daughter's candy or the pb&j crust I cut off her sandwich or random leftovers.
#5 - Lean people eat protein - Learning the effect of high protein diet in achieving a low-risk, healthy pregnancy drastically changed how I ate. I learned approximately how many grams of protein certain foods have and take that into consideration at meals. I've also noticed how my hunger, moods, and fatigue are affected when I don't eat enough protein. I'm not doing as well on this as I have in the past and need to actively increase my protein intake.
#6 - Lean people move around - Does chasing your kids count? Does moving around in your SUV count? No, really, I do exercise. Right now, it's gone from 5-6 days/week to 3-4 days/week but it's a commitment I've made to myself to stay active and I really work on being as consistent as I can.
#7 - Lean people watch less TV - I record probably 3 or 4 shows a week on our DVR that I like to watch. Now that Project Runway is over and since 30 Rock hasn't been back this fall, it's more like 2 o4 3. I don't have a lot of time to just sit on the couch and watch TV, and I don't like background noise from the TV, but if I had more time, I probably would watch more.