Hearty & Healthy: Day 8

whole-grains-for-a-healthy-heartI have always believed and still do believe that weight loss and having a healthy relationship with food come from your mind, not your mouth. When I lost 60 pounds in 1999-2000, it was because I was in a good place emotionally that allowed me to begin to focus on myself physically. Unfortunately, being in a bad place emotionally over the next 5-6 years, I put back on that 60 and added even more to the total.

I did not make an extreme effort to lose weight again until 2011 when I was working with a now dear friend whose family was following an Atkins type of approach. My husband was just diagnosed with diabetes so it seemed like the right plan for us. I actually lost 30 pounds over a 6 month period. My husband lost 50 in the same time frame. Things were going great until we went to Las Vegas to celebrate our first wedding anniversary and completely blew it! We never looked back and began to put some of the weight back on. We both put on 15 pounds in just a few months.

One day, March 16, 2013, to be exact, I was just ready. My husbands doctor had suggested he try a program called http://www.myfitnesspal.com to act as a food diary to support his need for weight loss. I decided the moment he told me about it that I would try it out for myself. I have not stopped using the free app in over a year. Sure, there have been times that I have been a little more lax than others, but overall I know that I would not be where I am in my relationship with food if it were not for my fitness pal. It has a lot of the qualities of the Weight Watchers online program, but it’s free.

Since I started my weight-loss journey with Weight Watchers in 1998 I have lost and gained the same 30+ pounds multiple times. Everytime I got near a goal weight I would start to think that I needed to do something more. I needed to go an extra step. So, I looked into a Sugar Busters type of regiment; eating nothing with more than 3 grams of sugar was my goal. However, without other nutritional values in place, this was not a reasonable task.

What I find most effective for both weight-loss and health in the real foods approach is just that, I’m eating REAL food. I’m not searching the stores for just the right mix of sugar substitutes, protein and fiber. I’m just eating REAL food. It’s actually an exciting challenge to go into the store and find something new I had not thought of purchasing that’s a great whole grain or real food.

My daughters are even getting in on the fun. They are enjoying the better quality meals we are eating for dinner, except when I added Greek yogurt to their beloved chicken salad, and they are taking stronger steps toward eating more fresh fruit and vegetables. I have tried to instill in my children a healthy relationship with food, but not having one myself has made it challenging. Over the years we have adjusted our eating, at least at home, to a more and more healthy choices. Lower fats, less sugar, etc., but I believe this latest change to be the best one, and will set the tone for my grandchildren to live a healthier life and have a better relationship with food as well.

My husband, who is truly  a man who loves food, has eaten less on the nights I have added quinoa to the meal. He was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes in January of 2011. Once on Metforman to control his blood sugar, he quickly lost 50 pounds, but has put 10 of it back on over the last 3 years. He typically eats enough for three people for dinner every night, then finishes off a pound of peanuts in the shell after dinner. I never have left overs and he’s typically still hungry after all dinner is gone. It frustrates my daughter and I who purchase and cook dinner because he eats so much and leaves little for the rest of the family some nights. He told me that our dinner of chicken and asian vegetables with brown rice, red rice, wild rice and quinoa last week filled him up on the first plate! Wow. That’s definitely a positive a million times over. I will be making dinner with the Multi-grain medley much more often!

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