Nutrition Progress

I don’t typically offer nutrition advice on this blog. There are two reasons for this. First, I am not a nutritionist. Second, I am far from a role model when it comes to good nutritional choices. But I wanted to share some info with you regarding some choices I have been making recently.

Just before the holidays I was shopping at the Boulder Book Store and I happened upon a book by Jorge Cruise. I was intrigued by the title and picked it up, flipped through to look at the content, and decided to buy. And the book sat on my desk at home for a few weeks until I had a chance one night to sit down and read it. But by the time I was done I had already decided to start taking steps towards better nutrition.

Here is the part where I tell you to not blindly follow the advice that Mr. Cruise gives, nor my advice. You should talk with your doctor, or a licensed nutritionist, before you decide to make any changes to your diet. In my case I can talk with my sister, which I did. And I came to the following conclusions.

Reduce my sugar intake – No question this was a primary focus for me. I love my Snapple tea but it has 21g of sugar per serving. That is a lot of sugar for one day, especially if you were to see all 21 teaspoons that you would be consuming laid end-to-end. I was also eating a lot of fruit, like apples, which contain a good amount of sugar. Even my apple and cinnamon oatmeal was loaded with sugar! I was finding it everywhere I looked and doing my best to reduce my intake.

After about two weeks of focusing on reducing my sugar intake I found myself taking a business trip. Usually these trips result in my making bad choices, but this time I was determined to do better. I decided to try black coffee and was amazed that I could actually enjoy the taste of coffee without it being loaded with cream and sugar. So, give yourself two weeks of detox from sugar and see if your taste buds come back to you like they did for me.

Increase my fiber intake – This was a little harder for me to recognize as an issue at first, I simply did not realize that many of the foods I was eating were poor in fiber. But I knew that it was important for me to increase my intake with a goal of hitting a minimal amount of fiber daily. But how was I going to track my fiber and sugar?

Tracking my progress – I found an app for my Droid from MyFitnessPal.com as a result of seeing some tweets from a person I met at the NASA Tweetup last year. I loaded the app and used it for a few days. I found it useful enough and went to their website. Now I keep a tab open in my browser so that every day I can ensure it is right in front of me. This allows me to keep a diary of everything I eat (and even track my exercise if I ever do any). The idea is to make certain I do not overeat as frequently as I have in the past.

These three things have had a tremendous positive effect on me. I lost over 15 pounds in the month of January (based upon a weigh-in with my Doctor back in November). I still eat a lot of my favorite foods but I find myself making smarter choices. I choose snacks that are high in fiber and low in sugar, like roasted edamame beans, or even plain corn nuts bought in bulk from a local market. I make sure to drink eight cups of water a day as well. When I travel I do my best to keep making good choices. I am not always perfect, but I think that overall I am heading in the right direction.

I know that there are many people out there that have similar issues with nutrition. This post was meant to help give people a nudge in the right direction, it is not meant to give anyone a complete answer as to what is right for them. In the future I will try to add in some thoughts on various foods and keep everyone up to date on my progress (or lack thereof).

The thing I like most about this is that by simply increasing awareness of what I am putting into my body I can control my overall health without needing to exercise for hours a day. Sure, exercise is important. But I would rather feel good about taking a walk with my wife as opposed to thi8nking I need to go for an eight mile run in order to stay fit.

4 Responses to “Nutrition Progress”

  1. Tammy-Beth Ubides Says:

    Thomas, good luck with your goals. It is quite difficult espeically when we are bombarded with conflicting information what the quickest way to get there which may not always even be true. I love myfitnesspal.com and while not every day is a perfect day for me I know that diet and exercise are key. Our bodies are essentially machines–you get what you put in. So, if you fill up on bad choices shall we say, then how can we expect our bodies to run optimally. Fuel with smart choices and it is simply amazing!

  2. Tom LaRock Says:

    Tammy,

    Thanks for the feedback! I agree completely, it falls in line with “garbage in, garbage out”.

  3. K. Brian Kelley Says:

    On Monday I started tracking what I ate. I’m serious about getting back to where I can run again, but I have a long way to go. This was one of the things suggested in the April edition of Runner’s World, I’d seen the advice before, and committed to do it. Evernote makes keeping track of what I eat easy. Last week was the deciding factor on this, because leading up to SQL Saturday #70 I was taking shortcuts and made some decidedly unhealthy choices.

    What has been especially surprising is how this has impacted my decision making on my choice of foods. I’ve resisted several temptations because I know I don’t want it staring back at me at the end of the week. And I know by eating smart most of the time, I can enjoy a treat here and there.

  4. Tom LaRock Says:

    KBK,

    Yes, it is very interesting. First thing is not think of it as a diet, it is truly a lifestyle change. I eat whatever I want, but I am mindful about it all. For me what worked so well was cutting sugar to a minimum and raising my fiber intake.

    Last week I was on the road, in an airport, and faced with bad choices all around. I was going to hit up Yaco Bell because their 85% meat solution is low in sugar and higher in fiber than other fast food options (and lower in overall carbs, too). But then I saw an Au Bon Pain and knew they had this little snack pack of hummus and pretzels. Only 200 calories, which is all I needed for a snack between flights anyway.

    It’s a lifestyle. Sometimes it’s a game. And after the hummus I found a wine bar and had a nice glass of Malbec. Life was good.

    My weight loss has plateaued for the most part, but it is still trending in the right direction. If I ever get outside again I plan on buring 500 calories or so a week by walking, which would mean an extra 1-2 lbs a month for the next six months. Which means I have a chance to be down a full 40 by the PASS Summit.

    That would be remarkable.

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