That was a wake-up call for me. I didn't want to buy bigger clothes. I didn't want to be sweaty and uncomfortable all the time. And I didn't want to have my already high blood pressure to go any higher to where it might cause a real problem.
So I took a step back and looked at all the things I was eating; spaghetti, buttery breads, hamburgers a few times a week, fast food, lots of meats and lots of eating out. It's kind of a lot.
I already know all about diabetes and heart problems because I've written on those topics quite extensively for Healthy U magazine. I know what causes it and I know what doctors say to prevent it, but I never listened. I did cut down on a lot of sugars because a member of my family recently was diagnosed with diabetes. But I was still eating out a lot and gaining weight.
I changed some things over the year.
First, I stopped eating out a lot. I've eaten at almost every restaurant in Las Cruces and I should've been content with that, but I wasn't. Now I only eat out when I go somewhere to write about it.
Here are a few healthy favorites from local restaurants:
A vegetarian platter from Santorini. Is has spicy tzatziki and humus, veggies and spanikopitas.
Black bean burger and house salad at Spirit Winds. This burger is unbelievable! Really. Try it.
Fillete al ajillo from Delicias Cafe. It's fish with garlic-chile dipping oil, steamed veggies and a feta cheese-spinach salad.
Chicken wonton soup from Boba Cafe. I heard that hot chile raises your metabolism. This spicy bowl should make your metabolism sky rocket. It's really hot, but it's really good.
Then, I started eating egg whites only. I also eat a lot more oatmeal in the mornings and buying more fresh produce. This means I eat a lot of seasonal foods and find recipes that include these foods.
Portion sizes! I know what portion sizes are. We all do. Sometimes they're so ridiculously small it makes me mad to think about it. But I've been abiding by these rules, mostly (...trying to). And to do this I add more variety of foods. For instance: at lunch I bring to work a large salad and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a cup of milk (you cannot have PB&J without milk. I tried. And the next day I brought milk). The salad is a filling lunch by itself so I have the PB&J for a snack as the workday winds down so then I'm not too hungry when dinner time comes around. And then dinner might include a small salad, lots of cooked squash, half a cup of white rice and marinated Cuban pork. It's filling, especially with a tall glass of iced tea.
To help me with portion sizes and calculating calories, I have signed up for Myfitnesspal.com. It has been extremely helpful lately because I now realize just how many calories are in some foods. 400 calories in my PB&J! So sometimes I make a half a sandwich instead. Only 17 calories in a fistful of carrots. I eat those with hummus instead of crackers or pita bread. It's like a game to me.
Exercising has become a daily habit in my life as well. I try to make it to the gym six times a week. Lately I hit a plateau and I keep telling myself that muscle weighs more than fat. I broke away from that, though, and have been losing one pound per week for the last three weeks.
These habits and changes were implemented into my life slowly. It is a lifestyle change. Before, I hated to get on the scale and I never did. Now I weigh in every week. I didn't pay attention to calories and now I do. I always filled myself and got full when I cooked something good. Now I limit myself, savor it and save some for lunch. I never paid attention to advice from others and now I eat more blueberries because my sister said they're good for you and I don't eat after 8 p.m. because my boyfriend said that's when your metabolism slows down significantly.
I've lost more than 30 pounds since last year and my blood pressure is amazing. It's a slow process, but just think: next year, if I keep this up, I'll lose another 30 pounds. That's 60 pounds! That sounds like a good deal to me. I'm in no hurry to get to the beach (I hate beaches anyways. They smell like dead things and sea creatures release sperm and eggs in it. Ew!). I decided to do it naturally and slowly because fake, powdered shakes sounds disgusting and skipping meals is ridiculous.