I’ve started trying to lose weight. Again. This is about the billionth time I’ve done this, and probably the 2nd time that I feel like I really have a shot at being successful. I’ve been using MyFitnessPal, which is amazing. I don’t have the paid version because I don’t see where I need the things they charge for, so I’m just as satisfied with the free version that lets me log my calorie intake and my workouts and access the community part.
I also started walking this week. Today was my 3rd day in a row. Walking may not seem like much, but when you’re ‘morbidly obese’ according to a BMI chart, and you don’t exercise AT. ALL. it really has an effect. I’ve been sore afterwards each day but I’m still doing it.
But let’s talk about eating. I’ve struggled in the past because I was mainly just counting calories. I counted points when I did a brief stint with WeightWatchers, but other than that it’s always been about calories in vs. calories out. And that’s good! If you burn more calories than you take in, yes, you will lose weight. But here’s the tricky part. What if I really, really want that Moe’s Homewrecker with chicken add queso, that adds up to a whopping 1100 calories? I’m never going to exercise all that off! So I didn’t. I ate it, saying I would exercise, and then of course I never did. Now more recently I’ve been complaining to my Hubbs about how I really want to eat healthy, I just don’t know HOW! I need to pay a nutritionist! I need to see a doctor to be put on a diet! Hubbs put his foot down when I started talking about spending money, because he’s seen this before. I sign up for a gym membership at $30-$50 a month, I go twice even though I’m locked in for a year. I spend $350 working with this ‘system’ that’s going to change my life and basically have me eating nothing but green beans for a year, and I lasted 4 days. I say we are going to start eating healthy and we spend $200 on health foods, and I eat 1/10 of it then eat a pint of ice cream the next day. So I GET it. He says show him that I can actually commit to something and sure, he’ll invest whatever he needs to for me to be successful.
So fine, I said. I’ll start walking and change what I eat. But then I went back (in my head) to ‘But I don’t know how to eat!!’ I looked up healthy recipes, and one of them said serving sizes were 1 cup. I thought ‘Holy shit! that’s all?! Well how many cups can I eat and it still be healthy?’ So then I googled “Portion Sizes.”
You will not believe what came up. A damn food pyramid, with the recommended daily servings of food clearly labeled. You know what I’m talking about. We learned about it in school that one time.
Seeing that, I felt like a huge idiot. OF COURSE. That’s how you know how much you should be eating, by knowing how many servings per day of particular foods you should have. I can’t believe I’ve spent the past 15 some odd years eating like crap because I forgot that there’s actually a daily recommendation of how much food you should have and what kinds, not just how many calories you consume.
Now I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. I’ve spent my life eating giant portions at every meal, but at least now I can acknowledge what I’ve been doing wrong and try to correct it. Schools really should require you to have more than a half-credit of health class to graduate.
Edit: After speaking with a friend who is a nurse, I learned that the USDA no longer uses the food pyramid and is now using MyPlate. Learn more at http://www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.