What do you do to maintain your weight? This is a question I’ve been asked over the years by family, friends and co-workers. The answer is not that I practice bulimia, starve myself or own a gym membership. I usually answer that I try to make good eating choices but honestly it goes further than that.
As a child my mother always cooked fresh food and baked from scratch as did her mother. Growing up, we didn’t eat canned goods and processed foods other than cold cuts of meat. Our diet consisted mainly of poultry, fresh fruits and vegetables. Rice, bread and potatoes were our main starches when we could afford them. Twinkies and other snacks were usually never bought on food shopping days. Instead we got fruit roll-ups (the real fruit roll-ups from the 1980’s where you could actually see the milled fruit). We usually only drank Pepsi soda on Sundays when we visited my grandmother for Sunday dinner. To indulge in junk foods we went to the neighborhood bodega and ate the treats that my mother would never buy. The house was her domain. She made the food choices and we followed.
Having a good foundation helped me to develop good eating habits as I matured. Over the years I’ve eaten bad things and always felt that I was doing my body harm.
In my twenties I became a vegetarian for about two years and enjoyed it very much. A boyfriend exposed me to the lifestyle by talking to me, giving me literature and by showing me videos of what was done to animals in the food processing industry. I adapted to the lifestyle but sadly abandoned the practice when I met a new boyfriend later.
Now that I’ve shared a little of my background with you, let me explain the lifestyle I’m currently following. I follow my mind and heart. Changing your mind about what you eat and feeling passionate about your healthy choices comes next. No big name diet will ever fulfill the job that you control mentally and emotionally.
I love fruits and vegetables. I really can’t get enough of them. I continuously eat fresh foods. A variety of fruits, nuts, vegetables and proteins such as fish and chicken keep me slender. I eat very little red meat and I no longer eat pork. I only drink alcoholic beverages on special occasions which is usually around the holidays. I mainly drink water and tons of it everyday. Water is my first choice when I dine out. When dining out I typically make good menu choices and seldom make bad ones. I drink milk only in my coffee and I buy juice when it’s on sale. When I food shop, I typically stay away from processed and canned goods. I love granola so if I’m buying a box of cereal for myself that’s what it’ll be. The methods I used when preparing my foods are broiling, steaming, boiling and baking. I don’t like frying food.
To burn calories, I stay on the go. I walk around my house, sometime my neighborhood and the local park. Lastly if I want to eat ice cream, Doritos or a candy bar, I do it in moderation. Even my day to day snacks are healthy. Discipline is key. Eating small portions is helpful. I don’t gorge myself. If I cannot eat the whole of something, I save it for a later time. Another helpful tip is to only buy healthy items when you shop. Having junk food around is tempting.
If you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle first change your mind. Do a self examination of how you feel, how look and how your eating habits affect your health. It all starts in the mind and the rest of the process will follow.