Nutritional Self-Check

I stumbled upon this nutrition-related article on Yahoo! Health and this comment, especially, jumped out and grabbed me:

While you can’t change everything at once, small changes can make a big difference in your overall health.

Apparently I’m not the only one who has adopted this tippy toe mentality. :)

The article contains a list of good suggestions, and I decided to use it as a sort of test of how I’m doing on building better nutritional habits. As measured by the author of one article, that is.

The suggestions in italics, followed by my report:
Don’t skip meals; plan for three meals each day.
– Like that’s a problem for me. :) I absolutely certify that I am having three meals each day. I excel at it even. Grade A+

Start reading food labels so you’ll become more aware of what you’re putting into your body.
– I’m better at reading labels, but I still don’t have all of the bad stuff memorized. Grade B-

Plan for healthier snack choices at work.
– I take fruit to work every day, and a protein snack bar if I have a workout scheduled, but on the odd day I’m caught without, I’m blessed to have a company cafeteria with lots of fresh fruit, yogurt, and other healthy options. Grade A+

Between lunch and dinner each day, aim for five servings of fruits and vegetables.
– Hmm, I’m not sure what this means. Between those two meals and snacks, I probably get about four servings of fruits and veggies. I also have fruit in the morning, and sometimes as an after dinner snack. I’ve also been known to snack on carrot sticks in the evening. So I’ll give myself a B+. After all, they are healthy snacks no matter when I have them.

Stop adding salt to foods.
– Er. Better than I was, not where I should be. Grade C.

Eat nothing after 8 p.m.
– Er again. Grade D. (So sue me, I get hungry at night. Again, I stick with the healthy stuff.)

Try a new food each week, to help you introduce more variety into your diet.
– How far do good intentions get me? Grade N (Not attempted)

Eat less meat to reduce your fat and cholesterol intake.
– Grade A+! I never did eat a lot of meat anyway; however, back then I replaced the meat with chocolate, a methodology that didn’t work so well for me. :) I’m 98% lean meat/protein now. I allow myself one beef-oriented meal weekly, but many weeks I pass it up.

Make sure that your breads, cereals, pastas, and crackers are made with whole grains.
– Along with the one beef serving each week, I give myself a ‘white bread’ option. This helps if I want my red meat splurge to be a burger or a burrito or spaghetti. Again, many weeks I pass on it, but every now and then is okay. Grade A-

Okay, so I kind of graded myself on a curve. It’s my blog. :) I did enjoy going through the list and recognizing the healthier habits I’ve adopted. I’ll use the lower grades as new challenges to add here and there to improve my fuel source even more. The article’s author affirms this approach:

Pick just one item from this list or come up with your own habit for healthier eating. Write it down, and try it for at least 30 days. Don’t try to change more than one habit at a time.

I feel a fan letter coming on. 😀

It amazes me how much fun it is to tackle these things one at a time. Sometimes I feel like a gunslinger in the Old West, swaggering through town making notches on my gunbelt. There’s a profound amount of satisfaction and pride in setting and meeting these goals. Before I understood that, I made sweeping plans for losing weight. Plans that I couldn’t make work. I tried to change everything at once, and success was measured by the total result, rather than the cumulative effect of accomplishing many small changes. Now, I have the satisfaction of knowing I’m successful and believing I will master each new change.

Except maybe that 8 p.m. thing. :)