I had my first much-needed nutrition consultation with my health coach Mindy on Friday. Closing on two weeks of dieting and exercise, I had been doing well, restricting to nil the bad foods: the sweets, the fried foods, and the empty calories, like alcohol. In truth, I'm like many chronic dieters, I start off following a plan zealously only to fall off. This is a tendency people have to treat what is a marathon as a sprint race. This journey isn't, can't be, a passing fancy, but rather a life-long lifestyle change.
I had also made the twin mistakes of not eating enough and not eating enough carbohydrates. Using the MyFitnessPal app to log my food diary and monitor my nutritional goals, scheming me thought, why not eat as much protein as possible in the fewest calories required? Carbohydrates? Dr. Atkins laughs at carbs--not required for healthy weight loss--A little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing.
|A Sweaty Mess and Mindy|
And that adage is what I was soon repeating as I sat in the conference room with Mindy; myself, a sweaty mess after have trained with Laurie, and Mindy, how fit, pretty people are: apparently perfect (No need to undermine this appraisal; since I am able to change, it's like my beautiful team--Laurie, Mindy, Stephanie, and Joseph--that I wish to become more like). After going through my health history, Mindy looked over a weekly food diary I had prepared. I sat there ruefully reflecting how much low-fat string cheese and Tyson Grilled-and-Ready Chicken Breast and how few fruits filled the chart.
Now Mindy is a exceedingly nice person, and she was very nice indeed when she told me that that was all wrong; but Mindy is not the type of nutritionist to let a client's food delusions go unperturbed. Thus the bubble that contained what I thought was my knowledge of food and nutrition was forever pricked; while I may revert back to my old habits in choosing foods I will always remember, tasting the sodium in packaged products, how Mindy told me that processing food leeches nutrients and puts in unhealthy additives unneeded if you were to just make it yourself. Mindy told me that I was going to need to cook for myself!
Oh no, I thought to myself, sitting there reeling. This is too much. I don't know how to cook. I don't know what to shop for. Do I have time to cooks every day? As if sensing my trepidation, Mindy told me that you start off learning how to prepare one thing at a time. Then you add to your repertoire of healthy dishes.
Since it was obvious that I liked chicken, substitute boneless, skinless chicken breasts from the grocery for the packaged Tyson product. Get the biggest package of raw chicken, and all you have to do is season and bake it all at once. Store it in airtight baggies and you'll be able to eat it throughout the week.
Eat This, Not That
It's healthier, it requires only about an hour a week to prepare, and it turns out to be much cheaper? It's a no-brainer; I can do it!
Mindy's final emphasis was incrementally increasing the nutritious foods I introduce into my diet. She did this by giving me an assignment to pick from a list all the green fresh foods and vegetables I liked or thought I might like to try. While there are fats and proteins, these are largely nutrient rich carbohydrates that will help to keep me full and give me the energy I require for strenuous workouts. There were some foods that I had to Wikipedia when I got home, and this peaked a natural curiosity that I took with me to the grocery store.
I bought lettuce mixes (Anything but iceberg! Thus spoketh Mindy), cucumbers, Granny Smith apples, celery, and sugar snap peas. I was amazed to see what a variety of colorful bounty the supermarket offers even during the bitter cold of winter in a snow-and-salt whitened Cincinnati. I am excited to try these munchies in my diet!
|The Goods, in Green|