Sunday, February 2, 2014

A New Year, A New You! - Part 2

Joe McCoppin - Partner, Better Than A Bistro

Joe writes about his personal revelation of the changes he needs to make, and has made, to make this year his very own New Year, New You!

Part 2 of 2.....

Last week I asked, "What can I stop/start doing right now that will be relatively painless, sustainable and manageable to allow for my lifestyle change? And oh yeah, doesn't cost anything!"

First, I stopped drinking soda altogether. I am a man who enjoys a few Cokes every day. When I realized that wasn't healthy I switched to ginger ale. Like an alcoholic who goes from vodka to beer. That's still no the most desirable solution so now I drink lots of water!

At first I drank at least a pot of very strong coffee a day to replace the sodas. I didn't start drinking coffee until my mid 30's. So after drinking that pot of very strong coffee and then shaking and sweating through the day I decided to do some research. That's when I found green tea. I know, yuck! But I actually love it now. I use 3-4 tea bags per cup. I didn't cut out the coffee altogether but I have easily cut my consumption in half and I never have it after 1pm of so. I absolutely feel better and green tea has lots of benefits and some caffeine too.

I realized that for me, eating has been habitual. I eat more on holidays because I am conditioned to. Every cultural event in every society is based around food. But why, I asked, does different food, like turkey's at Thanksgiving, have to mean super-sized portions? It doesn't have to. Why? I do have some rationalizations but the only real answer is - I love to pig out!

I also realized that I eat 3 meals and a snack with those meals every day no matter what. With that two more things became apparent; I shouldn't eat if I'm not hungry and I should stop when I'm full. Yeah, I know, I had to learn that. It's only natural to follow that train of thought to real behavior modification; i.e. lifestyle change.

If I get home from work late, and I often do, I don't eat a full dinner and snack. I am hooked on cucumber and tomato salad (cucumber, tomato and balsamic vinegar, with a touch of salt, basil and white pepper). I know I don't need to eat more than that but I need to chew something. So I'll throw a piece of tilapia (low-calorie white fish) in the broiler for like 5 minutes with a little dressing and Old Bay seasoning. I'm not a seafood guy, but this flaky mild white fish is easy to cook and very healthy.

I love burgers, so now I eat buffalo burgers, which are lower in fat than beef, pork and chicken breast. I stopped fast foods, fried foods, and I try to prepare a lunch for the week on Sunday night. This is a picture of me and my wife's lunch for the week. All made in minutes on one grill.

How do I do this? Easy! Everything is flash frozen and portion controlled. In the picture above you see five different fish, all prepared on one grill on Sunday night. This is five lunches for both of us for the week. Yes, we throw in a salad or some grains or even pasta (God forbid) but the fish makes the lunch healthy, quick and easy. Just heat it up in the microwave or eat it cold. The choices are endless too.

I'm fortunate to own a company that sells the fish in this way, but everyone....I repeat, EVERYONE, can eat like this! It's not more expensive and it's much easier and healthier than any other way to shop and eat. But that's another story. 

It can't be stated enough that portion control is mission critical to any lifestyle change I'm trying to undertake. NOT MODERATION! Moderation for me insinuates that it's bad for me in large amounts but okay in smaller amounts. What, like mercury and arsenic? But I digress......

The tiny changes and habits I have either learned or broke are just a start. But I have lost a few pounds over the holidays and still ate everything I wanted. Yes, of course I did pig out on Thanksgiving. But the very next day I had a protein shake for breakfast (I even throw some veggies in with it) with an apple and a power bar. And that's far better than what I usually do EVERY year on the Friday after Thanksgiving, which is a huge breakfast at the diner. I realized that if I do this type of meal replacement just once a day, or at least try, it's easier to keep track in my head. After all, I can't manage what I don't measure. So that one meal a day is my way of measurement.

For my protein shake's I use Lisa Lynn's Vanilla LynFit Complete Protein Shake. I get full and have more energy from the protein, which brings me to an earlier point.....I stop eating when I'm full. I don't eat just to be eating! The bottom line is to substitute the good for the bad, or at least the better for the worse.

Anyway, my plight continues. I'll keep you posted from time to time. All I can do is the best I can do, and I'd love that for you too......just saying!

P.S. I'm a big fan of recaps, so here goes:
  1. Stop soda, it's useless
  2. Stop fast/fried foods
  3. Drink water......lots of water
  4. Cut coffee in half/drink green tea
  5. Stop eating full meals late at night
  6. Every meal doesn't have to come with a dessert
  7. Stop eating when I'm full and only eat if I'm hungry
  8. Flash frozen, portion controlled, so the good stuff is always available
  9. Protein shake meal replacement once a day if possible
  10. Substitute good for bad or at least better for worse
Thanks for listening......Joe

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