a little bit about food

food has been a consistent theme in my efforts to get healthy, lose weight and run a marathon… not surprising really when you think about it, but it’s been more of an issue than I might have suspected initially.

food requires constant attention

the biggest surprise for me (I think) has been the need to pay attention to food and drink intake on an ongoing basis. just as you think you’ve got things sussed, complacency/bordeom kicks in, or your body adapts, or a few bad habits creep into your routine.

in the beginning I was very good with watching what I ate and drank, and to this day those changes have stuck. I drink plenty of water, I eat a well-balanced diet, I don’t consume (or need) energy drinks anymore.

I also (deliberately) allow myself to eat “bad” food, things I enjoy eating, things that make me salivate just thinking about them. takeaways, fried chicken, cake, chocolate.

the difference is, those things are not allowed to be the BULK of my diet.

but sometimes things get a little out of control, the kilos creep upwards, and I have to reign things in.

an unexpected source of over-indulgence

oddly, one of the biggest battles I’ve had on the food front has been with “healthy” snacks. namely, raw nuts and dried fruit.

on the one hand, very good for you, very healthy, natural and yummy.

on the other hand, loaded with sugar (dried fruit) and fat (nuts).

I realised I had to knock that habit on the head when I got through a 750g bag of dried dates in less than 5 days.

quite simply, if I buy things like fruit and nuts in bulk, and they are sat there in my desk, I snack on them. willpower? yeah, right…

problems buying a decent lunch in perth

I work in the CBD, I am surrounded by cafes, lunch bars, fast food outlets – even a supermarket.

buying lunch is easy, buying a healthy lunch is fairly easy.

buying an affordable healthy lunch – things start to get a little more difficult.

buying a variety of affordable healthy lunches, week in and week out – turns out to be almost impossible.

so I got bored with variations of salad, bread and meat. I started drifting towards wraps that seemed healthy, but weren’t, or out-and-out should-only-be-eaten-occasionally-as-a-treat options.

the weight started to creep up, despite the fact I was keeping up the training.

one man’s lazy is another man’s smart

I decided on a solution that is part laziness, part clever.

lite n easy 5 day breakfast and lunch.

I’ve used lite n easy before, with some success, and always liked their breakfasts, lunches and snacks. The thing that killed it off for me was the dinners; a range of frozen ready meals that get boring after a while – plus I cannot stand eating reheated frozen veg.

but no problem for lunche and breakfast – especially for just monday to friday.

for about the same as I used to spend on lunches, I now have 5 days of breakfast, lunch, mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks delivered to my doorstep.

no need to try and find varied options in the city, no need to spend time preparing lunches at home (as if that would ever happen!)

in-built portion control

to top it all off, despite the fact that I eat almost constantly from breakfast through to mid-afternoon (lots of between-meal snacks provided) , the portions and ingredients are calorie-controlled. so I know that I’m not going to blow my waistline.

in fact, that was the first thing I noticed when I started on the lite n easy plan a few weeks ago – breakfast was a lot smaller. I had been guilty of poor portion control.

throw in a good healthy evening meal to round out each weekday, followed by a “relaxed” (but sensible) approach to weekend dining, and I think I’ve found a solution that works (for me anyway).

it certainly seems to be working anyway – a slightly upwards trend (in my weight) has been reversed, and I’ve lost between 1.5kg and 2kg since making the change a few weeks ago. most importantly, I’m not bored at lunchtime.

what a typical day looks like food-wise

while I generally document meals and snacks in the daily journal, it’s probably a good time for a recap on what a typical day looks like, because meals and snacks are only part of the overall picture…

pre-exercise – a cookie, cracker or similar small snack plus a glass of water
post-exercise – lite n easy breakfast (weekdays) or porridge, toast or omelette (weekends). orange juice
mid-morning – coffee & snack
lunchtime – lite n easy lunch (weekdays) – weekends can vary depending on whether we are home ore not. I impose no rules on weekends, except to be sensible and not go too mad on “bad” stuff
mid-afternoon – cup of tea & snack
early evening – cooked meal (usually), occasional takeaway (weekends)
late evening – glass of milk before bed

in addition to this, I have also been taking a few supplements to help ease my sore knees, ensure that my immune system is strong and to aid with sleep and recovery…

each morning: 1 berocca, 3 x 1500mg fish oil capsules, 1-a-day glucosamine tablet, 1 men’s multivit

each evening: 3 x 1500mg fish oil capsules, 1 men’s “rest and restore” nighttime multivit

I also drink at least 1.5 litres of cold, filtered water each day.

these are the things that work for me – the fish oil and glucosamine help keep my knees moving, as well as the brain and heart helth benefits from fish oil. the multivits help keep colds at bay (very important in a household with a primary schoolteacher and a 4 year old who brings bugs home from kindy). the berocca helps me get the maximum energy from the food I consume and the night-time multivit has been BRILLIANT, helping ensure I get a good night of unbroken sleep.

so there you go, food-wise, these are the “secrets” to my success…

image courtesy of Creative Commons License Faith Goble via Compfight

2 thoughts on “a little bit about food”

  1. That all sounds like a very sensible approach to weight loss Gary, great job.

    The only thing that is a bit worrysome is the dried dates – 750g of them has 2175 calories and 500g sugar! So over 5 days that’s 435 calories and a whopping 100g of sugar a day, just from those.

    Although you sound like you’re not counting calories (which is a good thing – eating good, whole fresh food and watching portions is a much more intuitive and sensisble approach) I would absolutely cut these out completely while you’re trying to lose weight, or at least drastically reduce your portions to 3-4 dates a day.

    Our bodies don’t know the difference between “natural” sugar found in fruit and other sugar – it’s all just molecules of glucose and fructose to the hormones responsible for regulating bloog sugar levels. Nuts, although energy dense, are full of good fat and protein, with virtually no carbohydrates (and no sugar at all). So even if you ate 435 calories of nuts (and that’s a lot – about 70 almonds or 18 macadamia nuts) that would be far better off than eating the fruit.

    Here are some of my favourite health videos. If you haven’t already seen them they are well worth the watch!

    Sugar: The Bitter Truth, by Dr Robert Lustig http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM
    The Men Who Made Us Fat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6nGlLUBkOQ
    Why We Get Fat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTUspjZG-wc
    Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, by Joe Cross http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XDSpuMIMPs

  2. Hi JF,

    Cheers for the feedback – I’ll check out the links.

    You’re spot on with regard to the dates – that’s why I knew that had to stop. A few weeks down the track and the change seems to be having the desired result.

    That said, I’m definitely not worrying about calories etc. this week – I don’t really want to be losing weight with the perth marathon looming large – I need all the energy I can stock up on 🙂


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