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!