Saturday, March 5, 2011

Week Two: Counting Everything

Paraphrasing the former U.S. Surgeon General, Everett Coop, "the single greatest thing we can do to improve the quality of our lives is to regulate what we eat; more than activity, health care, socio-economic status or location."

Thus, Week 2 has begun, not only journaling every item consumed, but also weighing myself daily and ensuring that not more than 55 grams of fat are eaten. 55? The number was assigned to me (everyone has their own number) according to the goals I need to meet for this program. That seems monsterous! Or it DID, until I started recording my items.

What I began to notice (handy reference guide in hand), is that aside from fresh fruits and vegetables, easy-access foods have fat. The count can seem benign until an actual serving is measured out. Suddenly even my 1% milk (4 servings per day) looks like it needs to be on the chopping block! (Thank goodness for protein-enriched skim milk, but I could do without the artificial color! Good grief.)

Standard snacks for me had been: baked or regular potato and corn chips,cheese sticks, hot chocolate, crackers, and nuts with the occassional baked good, if they were fresh. A baked good or serving of nuts could be HALF of my allowance! At that rate, it would be rice and veggies for the rest of the day!

I thought that I had been a proactive consumer with label-reading, but never recorded items to see how they were adding up. When one has an allocation, however, the label-reading can be daunting and challenging. Would I like to eat my alloted grams at breakfast, lunch, dinner, 2 snacks, or dessert? And, how do I continue to get good fiber in whole-grain foods items when they seem to have a lot of fat (albeit healthy fats) to make them palatable? How do I plan for food that is prepared for me or when I am traveling? How do I sort through advertised "healthy option foods" that offer low sugar but 17 grams of fat?

Then, a new revelation. After a quick trip to the store to stock lower-fat items, the sticker-shock hits. "Healthy" option prepared foods can be 3x or more EXPENSIVE than their counter parts. How do I continue to be budget-savvy, cook at home, feed a growing family AND meet my goals?

There were a couple of bright spots, however, in this week of challenges. Firstly, I don't own a scale, so I walk to a community rec room each morning to complete my weight-tracking. It gives me wake-up time to myself, the dog gets a walk,and I get my 30 minutes of activity in before it's required. Secondly, York peppermint patties are my new friend! With a measly 2.5 grams of fat per bar, I can enjoy some chocolate with my coffee and still have room for an actual meal :-).

1 comment:

  1. I'm very proud you are doing this, Heather.
    Both NPR's kitchen window and especially, the NYT recipes in their Health section are really terrific. Really great whole grain muffins this week. can't wait to try their oatmeal blueberry ones.
    Also, biscotti can satisfy a sweet tooth: Two or three eggs (a cup of sugar :() but no fat. Good recipes for these on NPR--I know don Hart took the sugar in these down a bit. And they are actually really easy to make.
    Can't wait to see you next week.