Nutritional Self-Check: Two Years Later

I was searching for something in my posting history the other day, and I stumbled across this old post, which was a nutritional self-check based on an article I’d read. I thought it might be helpful to share the message again and fun to see how (if!) I’ve improved in two years.

What I liked about the original article was that it suggested a series of small and reasonable changes that could be implemented and/or improved upon over time. At the time I read it, I had been “transitioning” over a period of seven or eight months, and it fit right with my Tippy Toe sensibilities.

Suggestions from the article are shown below in bold italic, with my 2008 responses shown in italic.

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+
-2010 Update: Eating enough is still not a problem for me. Imagine that. :) I have 3-5 meals and snacks every day. 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-
2010 Update: The amount of time I spend in the grocery store has doubled, especially when I have to buy anything from an aisle. As we all know, that’s where the processed stuff is, which requires a “flip the box” approach to shopping. You’d think I was on an archeological dig, given the amount of time I spend scrutinizing labels.  Grade: A+  (Btw, if you have no idea how to read a food label, here’s a good primer with which to start. We’ll get to ingredients another day.*G*)

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+
2010 Update – Well, there is no workplace now. Fortunately, my kitchen–much like my former workplace–is filled with fresh fruit, yogurt, and other healthy options.

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.
2010 Update: Still eating my fruits and veggies. I didn’t do as well during the holidays as I would’ve liked, managing only 3-5 servings on a few days. I’m back on track completely now, and I’ll give myself an A+ for overall practice. :)

Stop adding salt to foods.
– Er. Better than I was, not where I should be. Grade C.
– 2010 Update: Much, much, much better. I do sometimes add salt to certain foods, but rarely and sparingly. I’ll give myself a B+.

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.)
– 2010 Update: I’m not convinced eating after 8 p.m. is a problem. What I eat after 8 p.m. is what counts, IMO. Christmas cookies in great numbers? Not good. A serving of yogurt or cheese? Not a problem in my book. But grading according to the article’s author, I’d have to go with a C.

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)
-2010 Update: I don’t try something new each week, but I do try new foods (or variations of “old” foods) every few weeks. I’ll give myself a solid B. (I know, I’m pretty generous with myself.)

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.
2010 Update: Still sticking with lean meats. No change here.

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-
2010 Update: I’ve improved in this area, having learned to look for the “100%” indicator on whole wheat products. (It should be the first ingredient listed on the label, not third or seventh or beyond.)

I see that I’m still grading on the curve, and that’s okay. I’m still progressing and that’s all I ever really asked of myself. Getting to the 100%healthy/100% of the time stage hasn’t been a goal and isn’t likely to be. I do feel best when I’m in the 90-95% range, though.

So, are you already following any of these suggestions? Or do you see one or two you might want to tackle over the next few months? Don’t be shy about singing out if you’re just getting started and need some help! I may not be much of a guide, but some really smart people read here and I’m sure they’ll be glad to pitch in! :)

20 thoughts on “Nutritional Self-Check: Two Years Later

  1. I fail miserably at the salt one and the eat after 8pm one. I really need to work on those. But I am getting better at reading labels. It's amazing the junk they cram in processed foods!

  2. I, too, fail with the salt one. I am working on doing better, but it is an uphill battle. I even reorganized all my herbs that I've frozen from my herb garden to keep them handier. I'm hoping that will help.

  3. Taming the salt shaker is a tough one, but it makes a huge difference. It amazed me how my taste buds actually changed over time.

    Good post, Cammy.

  4. ok, another checklist i'll have to study and try to make the grade on..thank you!!

    how you doing on the no night time eating honey??


  5. I fail on salt for sure. And I don't try that many new foods. But other than that I'm not too bad.

  6. Cammy I love that! You are doing great. :) I agree with you it's not eating after 8 that's the problem it's WHAT you're eating and why. Or in this case me. I have the no eating after 9pm and I like it because there are times especially at night when I want to eat, not hungry just bored. I look at the clock and it says 9 and I say kitchen closed! :)

  7. Great list – there's nothing there that is impossible to follow or modify to suit your lifestyle. I'm planning to use more whole wheat pasta this year. I just don't care for the taste as much but I think I could get used to it. At least it deserves a fair try.

  8. "I'm pretty generous with myself." Tehehe.

    GO YOU. This is a neat way to assess one's nutritional position. Eating numerous times throughout the day has never been a problem for me, either 😉

  9. i have trouble with the salt one, and i agree with you that it doesn't really matter if you eat after 8 p.m. if what you eat is healthy. i'm still working on the whole fruits and veggies thing; have fallen off the wagon with that the last few months. i was thinking about buying some winter veggies i don't usually eat and seeing if that helps peak my interest.

  10. Hey- I am doing pretty good here- except getting in enough fruits and veggies- but I'm learnin slowly! Having not been forced to eat them growing up it's a bit of a readjustment.

  11. I am pretty much with you although I don't try a new food each week & I am OK with that. I do eat after 8pm but it is small & planned for.

    I spend so much friggin time reading labels! Drives my hubby crazy! :-)

  12. I think for the most part I do okay, except that I know I could incorporate more fruits & veggies into my diet. Sometimes it's just hard!

  13. You go straight to the head of the class. Excellent grades. You are such an inspiration. I'm working on bringing up my grades.

  14. Haha, I put a lot of salt on my food, too. But I think you are doing fine, so long as you are not eating too much packaged and processed foods. that's where the real BAD sodium is. Salt in itself, the one you use at the table, is actually NECESSARY for survival.

    As for eating after 8 pm…it really doesn't matter WHEN you eat, as long as the overall amount is moderate and appropriate.

    Plus, I think you deserve an A+ on the whole grain front. Because if you were ONLY eating whole grain…well, you're missing out on the point of health, which is to be able to maximize enjoyment of life! What is fun about restricting yourself to whole grains all the time? the occasional white bread and burger, in my opinion, is necessary, and makes the whole grain diet much sweeter. 😉

  15. I am so proud of all your grade upgrades! BTW, I have never been a believer in that not eating after 8 pm thing – I always eat after 8 and have never had a problem with it – usually, that's about dinner time for me.

  16. This is why you were successful in your weight loss and why you've kept it off – you are always improving. Great job, Cammy! We can all learn from this.

  17. Great report card, Cammy! I like how you think for yourself, too, e.g., eating after 8 pm because it feels right to you. In my book (which I've never written :)), you get an A+++ for listening to your body!

  18. Hi Cammy!
    Re the whole grains resolution – you should check out my post today! :) I definitely believe that if you are going to do grains they should be unrefined, but I also think we eat way more of them, in general, than we need to.
    And re the meat: everyone needs a different amount of meat. Some people actually need lots. Some people do better with primarily dairy and egg as their protein. But ain't no shame in eating meat if you feel you need it. Just choose good quality, i.e. organic/grass finished.
    weight loss

  19. This is cool… I agree with you on the 8pm thing. It's about what you eat and in the end calories in- calories out, right?

    I'm working on a new rule for myself- I won't buy anything with more than 5 ingredients in it (unless it's like 15 different vegetables or something normal like that). It's actually hard but I've been finding more real food as a result.

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