Wednesday, February 18, 2009

on food and feed.

I just did a health check-up recently. For the most part, I’m healthy. However, my doctor really wants me to drop the weight. It’s frustrating because I eat fairly well and train, but my weight is pretty consistent. I will say that I have noticed my body changing. I’m a pant size smaller than I was in the summer and about ten pounds lighter. But the doctor wants more.

Right now, I’m going to really focus in on my eating. My doctor recommended that I do Weight Watchers. When I did it a few years back, it worked pretty well. But let me digress and give you my spiel on WW. I think it definitely works and the point system is magic for certain kinds of dieters. Yes, it did help me escape a plateau I was in. Unfortunately, when I started marathon training, my dietary needs were a little different and the program just couldn’t answer to that. The center I was going to was getting under my skin because (1) the leader was totally annoying. She laughed like a hyena on steroids and my ears just hurt! (2) I didn’t find the conversations helpful because controlling your food issues usually revolved around guilt, hindering other people’s desires to eat as they pleased, and harsh judgment. I’m not saying everyone in WW experiences this. It was just me.

Anyway… the final straw for me was when I went to a meeting and sitting next to me was an elder Filipina lady and a disabled woman. (The elder Filipina was a caregiver.) The elder Filipina lady asked me how much weight I’ve lost (which I thought was utterly inappropriate), and then proceeded to tell me that I wasn’t progressing as well as I should. In fact, she kept telling me how well her patient was doing and if someone who is disabled could loose weight and I couldn’t, then I’m pretty much a loser! (Granted, these weren’t her exact words, but it was her basic logic. Luckily, I respect my elders so I refrained from throwing my shoe at her.)

I never went back to a WW meeting.

With or without WW, food issues have been and are currently a life long struggle. So I’m using this blog to gain back some control. After doing lots of reading and thinking, I’ve decided that there are three schools of eating thought that work best for me (a diabetic fathlete). (Note: For more information, please refer do your own reading and research for these schools of thought.) They are:

The Zone. For me, the Zone is about a balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fats. For the hard core, this is in my opinion, the best eating program for athletes. In fact, it’s highly recommended for CrossFit athletes.

Clean Eating. For me, all this says is that you need to eat as clean and as fresh as possible – no processed foods. Try to eat things that come from nature and in their purest form.

Intuitive Eating. For me, this is probably the most important part of eating. Intuitive Eating is about having a healthy relationship with food. Food is meant to nourish our bodies and not answer to an emotional need. It’s also about listening to your body’s demands. Sometimes you’ll have these massive protein cravings. If so, feed that craving reasonably. (Long runs always inspire my need for steak. Don’t ask me why. It just does.) If you have a chocolate craving, answer it. You can have a few bites of chocolate, but please refrain from eating the entire one-pound bar! Intuitive Eating is about listening to your body and being reasonable about what it asks. I’m all about that!

As per a conversation with Miss Diana a few weeks ago, I am going to incorporate a feature that showcases my weekly menu. When I’m on, I’m kind of a freak about food. So this is how my crazy self manages my food…

When preparing a weekly menu, I’m all about proper preparation. My list is as follows:
(2) kinds of fruits
(2) kinds of veggies
(1) fresh green salad
(1) breakfast option
(2) lunch/dinner options
(1-2) snack options

This week my list looked something like this:
Fruits: strawberries (washed, cut and sprinkled with a touch of splenda to keep it peppy) and plums

Veggies: steamed broccoli and steamed green beans

Fresh Green Salad: At Trader Joe’s, I pick up two bags of whatever salad I’m feeling and store it in a green bag.

Breakfast option: cottage cheese with fruit and a sprinkling of nuts (I also keep a supply of eggs and fast-cooking oatmeal in case I want to switch it up.)

Snack Options: baby bell cheese to incorporate with my fruit and such

Lunch/Dinner options: I cooked two savory dishes this week. The first was chicken marsala from Trader Joe’s. They sell a sauce in a jar. I sautéed chicken and mushrooms and added the sauce to simmer. I supplemented this with a couscous/grain medley that they also sell. I simply dumped the couscous with some chicken broth in the rice cooker.

The second dish is a goulash-type thing my sister used to make when we were growing up. I started by sautéing some red bell peppers and mushrooms and set that aside. I then sautéed an onion and a head of garlic with some lean ground beef (that I slightly marinated with soy sauce and ground pepper). When that was cooked, I folded the red bell peppers and mushrooms and BAM! Done! I supplemented that with some brown rice (again, a task for the rice cooker).

From left to right: the first column are the steamed veggies. The second column is the goulash with rice. The third column is the chicken marsala with couscous.

I prepped all this in one night and it took me a little over two hours cook everything. I have to warn you that I’m a mad woman in the kitchen because I chop like crazy and cook with minimal dishes (because I hate washing dishes!). After everything cools off, I pack each element in various Zip-Loc containers. I like these because they’re clear, re-usable, inexpensive, and recyclable. (Don’t get me started on how OCD I am packing food in the CORRECT-sized containers. I’m such a space freak about that!)

Another issue I have is (1) I cook in pretty large batches and (2) I get tired of food really easy. I combat cooking in large batches by sharing food. This week, I packed three days worth of lunch for my dear friend Shirl (it partly makes up for the amazing lunch at Semo Sushi she treated me to). When I don’t do this for Shirl, I give it to my sister and her family. In exchange, I steal whatever they happen to have cooked and use it for my next meal. In the past I’ve also done food exchanges where a friend and I will cook a dish or two and exchange it with their dish or two. It’s a simple way to vary up the food and encourages eating in. (It also helps if your food exchange partner has the similar ideas on food that you do. For example, my food exchange partner can’t be the type that thinks veggies from a can. Cans? Seriously. Really?!).

If you prep properly, packing lunch or avoiding the drive-thru is really easy. Here’s an example of what my Wednesday meal bag looked like. I packed a breakfast (strawberries and cottage cheese), lunch (chicken marsala with couscous and a helping of green beans), green salad (not pictured), and two plums with two snack cheeses. When I pack my meal bag, I adjust according to what my day looks like.

I hope these tips work out for you. Also, if any of you (who live locally) are interested in doing a food exchange with me, let me know!


Gladys said...

i'm starving!

thanks for the healthy recipes, chica.

Joanne said...

You're most welcome!