Wednesday, May 19, 2010


The other day I wondered how I could be this cool.  I know the answer now.  And that is by merely showing you this picture:

By now, you're probably trembling from the awesomeness.  So let's get on with the post.

The other day, I was complaining to my wife, Claire, about how I can't seem to get my head wrapped around this eating right thing.  She insisted I was being too hard on myself and I insisted that she didn't see all the snacking and dessert eating I do when she's not around.

Then she said something that made me see the light.  She said, "Do you remember how you ate when we started dating?  A meal for you was an entire frozen pizza or a bowl of elbow macaroni slathered in Cheez Whiz.

Well, my eating is nowhere near perfect.  My portions are still a little too large and I don't always pick the best things to eat but I've made tremendous progress since I transformed myself from the man who gained 80 pounds in college to the man who is losing 100 pounds in a year.

Here are a few things I've picked up during my transition:

Disclaimer: I am not, nor do I claim to be, an expert on nutrition.  The information here is correct to the best of my knowledge.  If you spot something that is false or otherwise misleading, please let me know via the comments section below.

1.  I started snacking on almonds.  Almonds are very good for you.  They contain Omega-3s and all kinds of other good stuff.  I'm not a dietitian and I don't know all of their benefits, but I can tell you that they're delicious.  They fill me up much better than chips do too.

The downside of almonds is that they are very calorie-dense.  So be careful.

2.  I've been eliminating white foods from my diet.  Now this sounds silly.  Why would I eliminate a food from my diet based on color?  Well it's not really about color, it's more about content.  Foods like white bread, white rice, and anything with white flour contain simple carbohydrates.  Your body loves simple carbs because they are easy to break down and store as fat.  Once your body has stored all of the energy you just took in, you're hungry again.  Leading to some pretty severe cravings.  I've chosen instead to opt for whole grain alternatives.  I've switched almost exclusively to wheat bread, brown rice, and, get this, whole wheat saltine crackers.  Holy crap are those things good.  Seriously, they're 10 times better than regular saltines.

The reason whole grain foods are better for you is they contain what are called complex carbohydrates.  Complex carbs aren't as easily broken down by your body and stored as fat.  The energy you get from them is much more consistent than simple carbs.  You don't crash once your body has finished storing it all as fat.

3.  I've moved from iceberg lettuce to spinach.  I don't know a lot about what's in spinach, but a friend of mine told me he once heard a doctor say "Even if you have to deep fry it to eat it, spinach is still one of the best things you can eat."  Please don't deep fry your spinach.  Personally, I like it in chicken caesar salads.

4.  I've worked hard on getting over my psychological need to be stuffed to the gills every time I eat.  Stuffing my face used to make me feel secure.  I once had an incident (in my 20s) where I nearly threw a fit because we stopped at a Dairy Queen that only had ice cream and hot dogs.  I wanted my flamethrower burger.  One of the ways I've coped is I fill my 24 ounce water bottle before each meal and drink the whole thing as I'm eating.  I usually feel quite full after my meal even though the food alone wouldn't do the trick.  Plus, drinking water is very good for you.

5.  I make my own Chinese take-out at home.  I love Chinese food but it's not good for you at all.  I used to make the Wanchai Ferry kung pao chicken kit, but my stupid grocery store stopped carrying it.  So I decided to learn to make my own.  It's way better and I think a bit healthier too.  I'll post the recipe some time.

6.  I've exercised.  A lot.  I started by going to the gym for 20-25 minutes a night a few nights a week.  Then I bumped that up to every night for 3 weeks in January.  I've tried (and failed at) the 100 pushups challenge.  I made it to 55 and I'll try again at some point.  I'm currently doing Couch to 5k and plan on running a 5k race this summer.  I've also started a weight-lifting regiment courtesy of Mr. Scott.  I'm always trying new ways to move my body, but interpretive dance is still off the table (for now).

When you make a few changes to your life, it really helps motivate you to make others.  These are just a few things I've tried to do to change my life.  I have a long way to go, but I'm learning how to do more than just drop pounds.  I'm learning how to be healthy.

What have you changed to make your life better and healthier?  What will you change?  Do you think Spock is as cool as I do?


  1. Yes, I love the picture. Super cool. Also, you have a great post. I love spinach too! I eat about 5-7 spinach salads per week. I usually eat them for lunch. I keep it simple: spinach, tuna fish (usually the flavored variety) and dressing. I could eat that at every meal. The only down side to spinach is that I heard consuming a ton of it can lead to kidney stones, I think because of the calcium or something. I don't know what a "ton" is considered to be in spinach weighting.

    Take care and you're doing a great job. Keep it up.

  2. I totally love the Wanchai Ferry meal as well. My chain still carries it, just in different packaging. I'd like your recipe though. I agree with all of your statements.....whole wheat=good stuff, spinach=yum, water=always good. Ty came home from some workshop saying that peas are super good for you(gr, still balls of goo to me) and deep purple fruits like prunes. I can get on board with prunes, but I'll really have to grow up before I eat a bowl full of peas! Ha!

  3. During student teaching I had oatmeal for breakfast everyday: supposedly good for cholesterol - oh and I put cinnamon on it: also supposedly good for heart health. I kept that going last year.

    I now have a couple bananas for breakfast each day and a couple apples for lunch.

    For a few years I've been pretty good about drinking a lot of water: I can tell when I'm getting dehydrated - that's the only time I get a headache.

    I often have a salad with dinner but I probably over do the dressing.

    I'm mostly vegetarian but I don't know if that has improved my health or lifestyle.

    I have NOT had long-term success with exercising since being done with high school sports. The most success was a couple occasions where I went about two weeks consecutive with biking or running. Maybe I'll try again this summer.

  4. Just an FYI, carbs are used preferentially by the body for energy...meaning that your body will use any available carbohydrate BEFORE tapping into fat stores. This is why high-carb, low-fat diets never benefited anyone. When carbohydrate is eaten in excess it can be converted to stored energy (fat). However, it's still important to consume carbohydrates as glucose (what carbs break down to) is the ONLY energy source the brain can use! Whole grains are good for you because they are full of vitamins, minerals and, perhaps most importantly, fiber which keeps you full longer, cleans your gut, and lowers cholesterol.

  5. I'm pretty sure that picture just impregnated me. This could be hard to explain.

    All your rules seem to make sense to me, so I'm on board! I cut out all the carbs though to give me a boost. I would kill several people for a few whole wheat saltines somedays. They really are pretty good...whodathunkit??

  6. Learning to stop eating when I stopped being hungry and not when my plate was empty was really hard for me.

    I support you Tralle!

    -Victor B.

  7. Great post. Thanks for the tips. I am quite the fan of egg whites and veggies in a scrambled mess most mornings. Everyone once in awhile, add in a piece of double-fiber whole wheat toast for a filling but healthy breakfast.

  8. Awesome post!!!

    Almonds = Great! They are also high in fiber, protein and good fats. That is also why they fill you up! (any good snack is balanced in good fat, carb and protein)

    WW Saltines? I need to try those!! :)

    Iceberg Lettuce = All water nothing substantial. Any dark leafy veg is good for you. Sometimes spinach can get to be too much for me, so I combine it with romaine, or the really dark/purple mixture. I also usually add mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumber and green pepper to any salad I'm eating. They are full of awesome nutrients, fiber and water. Very filling when you add some chicken in the mix!

    Stuffing my face = hardest thing to avoid. EVER!! Last night Andy made some awesome mashed potatoes with feta and red pepper, I could've eaten the whole thing. But I didn't and I was so proud of myself! It will always be a challenge in life :)

    When can I come over and try your chinese cooking??? Will next Tuesday work?? ;)

    Exercise always makes me feel better. Especially when I combine it with eating well. Good job!!

    I think you're doing a great job of educating yourself on eating better. You have to remember that you've been eating crap for most of your life, it's going to take longer than a few months to weed out those bad habits and cravings. Keep working at it!! BTW-Have you received a magazine called Clean Eating yet?? I bought you a subscription-they have great recipes! Check out their website until you get a magazine!

  9. Remember when you used to eat those frozen chicken kiev dinners? Those were so gross.

  10. God those things were delicious, but definitely contributed to my fatness.

    Basically a stick of butter wrapped in chicken and breaded. Gross.

  11. Chinese food isn't unhealthy. American-Chinese food is unhealthy. I've been living in a Chinese village for two years and you should see the stuff I eat. I've never had the Wanchai Ferry Kung Pao Chicken Kit, but I'll be in Wanchai (Hong Kong) in two weeks and I can eat some chicken there in your honor.

    Great post!

  12. Do it and take some pictures. I'll post them to my blog.

    I seem to remember Sarah didn't know what cream cheese was until she moved to America.