A few weeks ago I saw the doctor and realized I wasn’t 25 anymore. While I had gradually dropped a good 40 pounds of weight over the last two years, the doctor still gave me a good talking to about good nutrition and consistent exercise. In recent years I was going to the gym “when I could fit it in,” and food was whatever I had around the office at the time, and McDonald’s was a staple while on the road. (While in recent years McDonald’s has been excellent about offering healthier alternatives to the double hamburgers and McChickens, I wasn’t choosing those alternatives.) I was told in no uncertain terms that a strict, healthier diet was needed, and daily exercise was now a priority and not “when I could fit it in.” Here’s the info on what I’ve been doing food-wise; the exercise will come in a later article.
I started doing a few things very differently, and thankfully Kathy has been helping quite a bit. First, I am now eating smaller portions five times a day. Based on a 1900 calorie diet, I have the three basic meals, but not nearly the same as I used to. For breakfast, I’m having a high-protein yogurt, piece of fruit, and peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread. For lunch, I’m having a piece of meat, some rice, and enough vegetables to equal the size of the meat and rice together. For dinner, I’m again having the meat and whole grain pasta along with a big salad. And twice a day I’m having fruit and peanut butter. The strange thing is I’m probably eating MORE food than before, but in three weeks I’ve lost the last ten pounds the doctor said I should.
The second thing I’m doing is reading. More specifically, I’m reading labels to avoid bad cholesterol, high amounts of sodium, and limiting carbs. Good Lord, have you read these things? For some foods, it’s worse than reading the Surgeon General’s warning labels on a pack of cigarettes because you can infer the various ways you’re going to die based on the nutrition details. One of my former favorites is Hardee’s Monster Thickburger. Here’s are the highlights that pretty much mean I’ll never have one again:
- 1320 calories, 860 of them from fat
- 95 grams of fat, 36 grams of saturated fat
- 210 milligrams of cholesterol
- 3020 milligrams of sodium (there are only 40 milligrams of sodium in a Diet Coke)
- 46 grams of carbohydrates
While I liked the Thickburger, I don’t like it enough for it to compose 70% of my daily caloric intake and more than seven times the amount of sodium I should have in a day. And I don’t mean to specifically pick on Hardee’s and the Thickburger. The point is I never would have realized just how bad it was for me until I took the time (and responsibility) to look up the nutritional information. Hardee’s also has some healthy alternatives, and it’s just a matter of choosing them.
Finally, I’ve also started to see my tastes change to correspond with the new diet, and my energy level has gone up without my formerly high intake of caffeine. As I sit and write this, the thought of having a brownie or piece of cake does not appeal to me at all. On the other hand, I’m actually looking forward to having apples and peanut butter (the good stuff, not the main brands with all of the added sugar.)
Well, I am The Estate Geek, so I have to relate this somehow to life and estate planning. There are a few points that work both for nutrition and estate planning:
- More information leads to making better choices, but you have to stop and do a little investigating
- There is a lot of publicity around things that may not be as good for you but will lead to profits for someone else, like fast food chains that highlight the bad stuff and probate attorneys who recommend Wills over a revocable living trust
- A well-thought out plan can be executed with much better results than simply rushing through to get something in place (like picking up the first thing that catches your eye in a restaurant as well as simply asking an attorney to put together the Last Will and Testament everyone talks about)
One of our slogans is to “stay safe, plan ahead, and enjoy life.” I’m glad that I’m finally applying the stay safe and plan ahead aspects to my own nutrition and will hopefully have a lot more years to enjoy.