Thursday, February 07, 2008

4 Out of 5 Blog Readers Say Clever Titles Are Overrated

Posted by Lara at 5:57 PM
I've been slowly pulling my thoughts together for a post over the last four days. Does that mean you're in for a totally deep and thought-provoking post? No, it just means that this week has left me little to no time with the computer, unless that time is being directly subtracted from my sleep at night. And while I love you enough to do without sleep sometimes, there are other times when I just can't bear to be away from my pillow for that long. And even with that, I'm totally exhausted and really looking forward to Saturday night when I will finally have a chance to get some real rest.

Until then, I'm sorry for not having posted earlier, I'm sorry for being really behind in my blog-reading, and I'm sorry for making lame comments (when I have the presence of mind to make them at all). Thank you for your understanding in this matter.

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The folks in my horribly outdated newly updated (finally edited! look at the links over there!) blogroll inspire me each and every day. Sometimes I am awed by their strength, sometimes by their patience, and sometimes by their you've-got-to-be-kidding-me awesomeness.

But today I'd like to talk about how some great bloggers - Hanlie prime among them - have been inspiring me to make some important life changes to improve my health. I don't think I really need to lose weight exactly - the numbers on the scale are okay. In fact, after my depression left me at a semi-alarming low point last January, I've finally smoothed out and remained steady at a weight range that is appropriate for my height and build. Unfortunately, the numbers on the scale are only one small factor in determining my health.

What I need, then, is not a diet or weight loss program, but a healthier lifestyle in general. For me, this means two major things: making better food choices and being more active in my daily life.

Changing my eating habits is going to be very difficult. Once upon a time, when I was still living with J., I/we cooked and ate at home most evenings. Back then, I ate a lot more veggies and a lot less fried fat. But after moving, that all fell away. At first I was too depressed to care much about food, which was probably for the best, since I would have been too busy with school to do anything about it if I had cared. Then I was enjoying a brief period of laziness (hello, Mr. Delivery Man!) before going back to work. My job, you might remember, first exhausted me then frustrated me, to the point that I never left in the evenings with enough energy to do more than microwave a frozen dinner or stop-off at a nearby drive-thru. Kraft macaroni and cheese was as intricate as meals ever got for me.

But I kept reading about healthy recipes and low-fat snacks and I kept thinking that I could that too!... if not for the disaster area that WAS our kitchen. I say "was" because Monday night I had had enough. I went through and cleaned the place up enough to be livable (by my admittedly low standards). Mostly this consisted of throwing away old disgusting food, such as the cottage cheese from last July, or the yogurt whose expiration date was December 3, 2006. Yes, you read that right.

And when it was all done, I had a nice clean kitchen and a cat in the fridge, because wouldn't Tenny just have to jump right in once the bottom shelf was empty? I ask you, who of you wouldn't have done exactly the same thing? (And no, that picture isn't of him. I wasn't quick enough to capture him in the act.) Now if we can keep the kitchen clean - and the cats out of the major appliances - I'll be one big step closer to better food choices.

The other major step is, of course, what I choose to buy when I'm actually in the grocery store. Standing in a clean kitchen and saying, "I'm finally ready and willing to cook!" does me absolutely no good if I have nothing but Cup O' Noodles and Fritos in the cupboards. But I solved that problem on Monday as well with a trip to Safeway. Armed with my plans for a healthier future, I came out with fruits, veggies, lean proteins, whole grain breads, and low-fat dairy products. My food pyramid is finally looking more complete!

That night, I made myself pasta with chicken, broccoli, and mushrooms in a light vodka sauce. Quite tasty, and I'll be having some of the leftovers for dinner tonight. Safeway makes a great low-fat chicken stir fry meal in a bag, and Mission's whole wheat tortillas make yummy quesadillas. I'm also a fan of mixing strawberry yogurt with chopped-up bits of apples, pears, and walnuts for a light breakfast or lunch. Once I'm stocked with the necessary ingredients, there are lots of things I can make for myself that are significantly healthier than my Spiderman mac n' cheese.

Overall, I'm happy with the changes I've put into place in my diet. I just need to stick with them, even when I feel busy and tired and lazy. While my metabolism is pretty good now and I can eat tons of junk without gaining a lot of weight, I won't be able to do it forever. And all that junk is just building up to cause me problems later in life anyway - heart disease, high cholesterol: Who needs it?

I'll save my exercise / activity plans for another post. In the meantime, how is your daily diet? Are there any changes you want to make to it? Would now be a good time to start?

23 comments:

franz the mouse's friend a. said...

Go you! :)

I think I should give classes to fellow bachelor men because I do a good job of fending for myself. (I wouldn't presume to have anything to teach women.) I've been making my own healthful meals, produced from the ingredients I've shopped for myself (and carried in the sturdy baskets on the back of my bicycle) for several years. I think one secret to long-term healthful eating is having some good staples. I rely a lot on multigrain, wholegrain cereals and breads; nuts; dairy products; black beans; and so on. These are staples because they have a lot of calories, are filling, and are 100% nutritious. And even when one is feeling lazy, it's pretty easy to make some good meals with these stock ingredients. Never underestimate the tastiness and healthfulness of a PB&J sandwich made with the right ingredients!

Graham on 6:58 PM said...

Please continue to inspire me once I've left the neverending source of manna that is my place of employment. :-)

Maggie on 7:17 PM said...

You are so good!

Since I am a nanny too, I think that my main diet consists of things that toddlers will eat - making more than one meal is just not a good option to me (usually). Although, on the flip side I think that I am fairly active, if for no other reason that I have to keep up!

But I should probably take a lesson from you and make a shopping trip that leaves me with a more complete food pyramid in my kitchen...having healthy options never hurt anyone!

Jill B on 7:20 PM said...

Impressive on many levels, including the one where I think, "well, if Lara's doing THAT, then maybe I could be inspired to do THIS." Or at least think about doing something.

gnomesque on 7:47 PM said...

Wooo, Lara! That's the kind of healthy major lifestyle change that I wish I had the ambition to do.

My daily diet... not so good. Eating at meal hall, though, there's not always a lot I can do about it. I usually manage to avoid the fattiest foods, but still, most of my meals consist of rice and a sandwich. I should probably be getting a few more vegetables in there. And yes, now would be a good time to start. No time like the present!

Hanlie on 10:38 PM said...

Wow, I'm glad you find my journey inspirational! I really believe that we owe it to ourselves to take care of our bodies... and now that I'm starting to act on that belief, I'm so much more at peace with myself. Healthy food and exercise are also excellent antidotes to depression!

Way to go! I'm proud of you!

KennethSF on 1:03 AM said...

I don't know, Lara. I find it difficult to believe someone who's been indulging in Cup O' Noodles and Fritos on a semi-regular basis can look as cute and adorable as you.

Ashley on 3:57 AM said...

Yay! Nutrition gets me so excited!!
I completely agree with Franz the Mouse's Friend. Dude, staples are the way to GO. I work with kids until 8pm, so when I get home I need a quick meal to throw together. The slow cooker is a great invention (but requires pre-planning - which I am actually starting to do!!)

My fave staples/meals are beans, whole wheat tortillas, cheese, almonds, whole wheat pasta, cous cous with beans and veggies, hummus, smoothies, veggie burger stir fry, salads...

The key to not succumbing to eating out when you're tired is having food in your pantry that you know what do make with it. Like, um, Fritos :-P

Good luck!!

pink jellybaby on 3:58 AM said...

oh goodness, sounds like you're doing a whole lot better than me! I'm always trying to be more healthy to lose weight etc but i never get very far. At the moment i'm doing ok....less white bread and pasta, more whole wheat, more fruit and veg, less sweets/crisps and also some 'friendly bacteria' tables, multi vitamins and B vitamin tables every day...... it won't last long!

Mrs. Chili on 4:51 AM said...

Now is ALWAYS a good time to start.

One of my resolutions for this year was to make better eating choices - both for my health and my wallet (we eat out a lot, and I'm trying to pull that back a bit). My diet's already pretty good, but it could always be better. Like you, one of my biggest obstacles has been not having good stuff in the house, so I'm being a lot more mindful in the grocery store. It's helping, too, that Beanie's been admonished by her doctor to eat better - she's becoming my shopping buddy and we're making healthy choices together.

lspoon on 5:23 AM said...

I actually posted about my latest diet today! It's so odd how sometimes we're all on the same page :)

Dee on 8:41 AM said...

Right now my only goal is getting through the rest of this pregnancy. Then I'll be adjusting my diet drastically and trying to drop the extra baby weight. If I can find the time and energy, I'm hoping to reacquaint myself with the treadmill gathering dust in my basement as well!

the kaiser on 10:30 AM said...

You have Spiderman mac and cheese? I'm jealous. All we have is Spongebob.

I, too, have taken to eating more fruits and veggies. I could easily eat cheeseburgers and pizza every day, and I'm lucky enough to not put on a lot of weight as a result. But I'm gettin' older and that's not as true as it was when I was a youngster.

Teacher Anonymous on 11:46 AM said...

Good luck! I'm quite happy to say that I have avoided eating fast food on the evenings that I have class so far this year (one of my resolutions was to cut back on the fast food). Eating healthy is, as previously stated, a matter of having easy options for when you would get lazy and have something unhealthy. I think my favorite tools are couscous (only takes 3 minutes in the microwave), frozen veggies, and bag salad. Also, whenever I need chicken for a recipe I defrost extra, cook it, and just leave it in the fridge (good for quick stir frys and salad). Now, if only I didn't have a roommate who purchases boxes of cookies from the bakery. Then I would be set!

tali on 11:56 AM said...

That's awesome! I'm actually in a similar place to you - I'd like to eat better food not because I'm trying to lose weight, but really because it makes me happy when I'm eating delicious food, and it makes me proud of myself when I can make something delicious and nutritious myself. Unfortunately my cooking (and grocery shopping) skills are on the low side, so I'm also trying to make a more concerted effort. I am definitely taking inspiration from your progress though! No time like the present.

Ali on 12:21 PM said...

i think you are awesome. even when you eat fried food and boxed mac and cheese ;) mmmm..fried food...

TSM-terrifically superiorily mediocre on 1:24 PM said...

Girl, with all the bee-boppin' around that you do, I don't think there's enough food in all of NY City to put any meat on them bonz. But YAY you for wanting to put some healthy boundaries on your dietary intake!

In other news, did ya hear about the totally rebellious and crazy thing I did recently? Oh you will flip!

HUGS!

WWEB said...

i'm doing the same thing...my problems are with sweets, sodiums, and saturated fats though. so i'm cutting out all the cheese - just one slice on a sandwich, trying to limit to once per week (no more eating gobs straight!); picking low sodium versions of canned or prepared foods; eating mini chocolates instead of fullsize bars (or a handful of chocolate chips instead); increasing fresh fruit intake for natural sugars (chocolate bar - or raspberries?). Also whenever I get the choice to pick between creamy soups or fresh salads - I get salad with dressing on the side. Simple tips and it doesn't take much effort to maintain - just a little reminder when you're ordering food.

LaLa on 5:01 PM said...

We can try to be healthy together! In general my diet is pretty good nowadays, it's my portion sizes that are the main issue, must. eat. less.

BetteJo on 6:32 PM said...

I've actually been eating healthier lately, but the hardest part for me? Fresh food means shopping more. And I hate grocery shopping so much I'm almost phobic about it. Makes it kind of tough.
Hope you manage it though!

pincushionpoints on 11:18 PM said...

I love your kitty picture this time. I'm glad to hear you are feeling a little better.

Mollyfa on 6:18 AM said...

Just on Oprah yesterday they were saying that you cannot eat healthy in a dirty kitchen, so what a coincidence to read it here as well. I find that meal planning is the way to go, and it isn't nearly as painful as it may sound. Oh, and I'm a huge fan of peapod. I sit at my computer and order my groceries, they deliver them to my door. Yea! Good luck, it's a long journey with many pitfalls along the way (she says as she takes another bite of her donut).

Seeser said...

One, I love your lolcat picture. And I am about to email you one that you might like. :)

Two, my diet should significantly improve once I am down to only one job. It will give me more free time to actually cook. Plus, I am eliminating the job with the free fattening food!

 

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