World Obesity Day

I thought after a while it would just go away. That I wouldn’t think about it anymore. Out of sight out of mind, right? It doesn’t always work that way.

I have memories of waking up as a child to the scent of toasted English Muffins wafting into my bedroom as my mom made breakfast. Or there’s the moment when I pull into our parking spot at the market and catch the enticing smell from the bakery making their daily supply of bread loaves of all types, non-gluten free. Into the parking lot it streams and I begin to dream of real deal warm bread with melted butter…

A thin crust gluten-free pizza occasionally will satisfy my pizza craving, however those bread longings don’t stop. I now have an override policy. I override anything that could cause damage by jumping on to something else. I get busy! Gotta keep moving and do something constructive with that wishful thinking!

And how ‘bout those tempting Annie’s pretzel kiosks at the airport? Everyone’s usually famished and rushed in airports, so being prepared is extremely important.

I read this interesting article in the Huffington Post about why we make bad food decisions, even when we know better. Researchers at Caltech conducted an experiment on our ability to exercise self-control when it comes to eating decisions and concluded that the faster we’re able to consider a food’s health benefits, the more likely we are to exert self-control by choosing the healthier option.

It seemed that choosing the less healthy option was a matter of critical thinking and education, rather than priorities. And research has also shown that considering a future outcome of good health and weight loss can help people choose health (the apple) over taste (the donut) when making food decisions.

I’ve learned to be a good food traveler and get my food longings satisfied with a crunchy apple, salted edamame, almonds, or California carrots dipped in a touch of hummus or blue cheese dressing. It’s funny… now I look forward to packing my travel snacks because I know the health benefits.

Today, October 11, is World Obesity Day. Interesting there’s a day for this. Maybe Portion Control Day or Willpower Week would be better.

If we say no to high caloric, tempting foods, make educated choices and serve our family real meals with lots of veggies, our bodies will be healthier. Our children will be better off. We can cut down on obesity worldwide and keep weight stable. Say NO to processed foods, anything with excess sugar, or any sugar at all! And always check food labels for high fructose corn syrup. Many foods that are perceived as ‘healthy’ (like bread) are in fact jam-packed with sugar, with high fructose corn syrup as the culprit.

Much of the difficulty people have with weight gain stems from the fact that the price of these factory foods are cheaper, so families on a tight budget turn to them. “Buy One Get One” at the market are not the bags of spinach or avocados… it’s usually the chips, cereals, fruit juices and canned items. These processed foods are piling on the weight and contributing to soaring levels of chronic disease such as type 2 diabetes. 

Sadly, our children are the most affected.

I’m a mom and a nurse. You’d think because of that I would be well-versed when it came to eating, but both my boys chunked up around 10-years-old. They ate the Kraft mac-and-cheese and drank the juice boxes. We were not ANYTHING like we are now. I’ve learned a lot about healthy eating because of celiac.

So what are the keys to successful weight maintenance? For me, it’s keeping the pantry free of temptation and being mindful of my portions.

Most people are notoriously bad at estimating what, say, a cup of popcorn or a tablespoon of salad dressing looks like. It’s important to learn what a portion size actually is—and eating that amount. I use an app to count calories: My Fitness Pal. I love it! It’s super helpful and even has a restaurant logging feature that counts calories, since most restaurant portions are HUGE. I like to eat half of my entree and take the second half home.

Most of us don’t want to spend time weighing food items and measuring, but it makes a BIG difference. I watched the movie Super Size Me for the first time this week, and it totally reinforced the importance of portion control. Bigger is NOT better. You may think you’re getting more for your money… but it’s at your body’s expense.

Feeling great and investing in the right stuff is much more important than “cheating”. It’s about freedom and self respect and will serve us in the long run. Longevity is where it’s at! I’m going for the gusto, the Grit. I want the next thirty years to be full of life and vitality. I want to hike the mountain and dance on the sand bar, and wish the same for you!

Find out about what your ideal weight should be, go for the healthiest choices possible and walk past the fast food. Just say No Thank You! Make sure you and your kids get outside. Get exercise. Walk, swim, and do whatever you can do to keep it moving. Local parks are all around us. And what child doesn’t love a good pair of monkey bars or a swing set?!

I’ve got lots of energy now and am grateful to be able to do the things I love. Isn’t that why we live? Be good to yourself. Healthy food choices and low carb diets are the new black. It’s the right thing. Your days will be brighter and, honestly, you look better when you eat The Right Stuff.