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Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013
The dark side of white stuffPosted Wednesday, January 16, 2013, at 10:10 AM
When I began paying better attention to my lifestyle a couple of months ago, I knew I was quite out of shape and it would take me some time to get back into the swing of things.
I am 33 years old now, and although rusty, eating right and exercise is certainly nothing new to me. I started my first vigorous regime of crystal clean eating and running 15 years ago. Back then, I remember clearly the foods that were good to eat included the obvious choices of lots of fruits and vegetables, small, frequent portions. A big emphasis during that time was opting for fat-free options, and carbs, as I remember, were welcomed -- whole grains were highly encouraged. I don't recall a whole lot of talk about sugar at the time. As long as it was low-fat it seemed to be OK in my book.
It all made good sense and there wasn't a whole lot wrong with that "diet." It was healthy and paired with a good exercise routine it worked fine.
Cheese was a big NO NO, as were many meats excluding light fish and lean chicken. I remember being in college and when my dorm buddies would crave late night pizza I opted for the cheeseless pizza.
Eww! What was I thinking?
Looking back, although healthy, it was a little difficult to sustain that plan.
Nowadays, things are a bit different. The basics remain the same in that doctors recommend small, frequent meals and portion control. However, I'm learning the main difference is the carb and protein parts of the plans.
When I told my doctor I wanted to shed some weight that's hung onto me since I had my baby a few years ago, her frank words were: Your body doesn't need the white junk. That translates to no more mountains of potatoes, pasta and bread on my plate at every meal (all my favorite things, of course). For me, even the multi-grain versions should be limited. No surprise, sugar is the dieter's devil.
So now I focus on lots of low starch vegetables, plenty of fruits, and the biggest difference for me: High -- mostly lean -- protein such as lean meats, plain Greek yogurt, cheese (the light version, preferred), almonds. Healthy fat is OK in moderation now.
When I first started this routine I feared I would be miserable without the white carbs, but once I got over the initial hump I don't miss them a bit. I feel more energized and less sluggish, and the allowance of a little more fat in the diet seems to keep me satisfied longer.
By no means am I a doctor or nutritionist, but I'm really enjoying this sensible approach that seems to be working.
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Sadie Fowler is lifestyles editor for the Times-Gazette.