Thursday, May 31, 2012

Finding my WHY #2: Whole foods

My WHYs for debt were somewhat easy. We'd been moving toward debt freedom and debt free living for most of our 9 years of marriage. But the next ones I've been working on haven't been so easy. I never want to be a hypocrite, so I want to make sure that what I am able to walk the walk after I talk the talk. I knew that even though sometimes I want to, I wasn't going to go out and get a car loan. That exercise in expressing WHY we want to stay out of debt was an affirmation of several years of decisions. The next WHY is a newer road. And I'm hesitant to share it, not because I'm not convinced that it's the right path, but because I don't want to proclaim my intentions only to fall off the wagon a week from now. But because I'm making a challenge for myself starting tomorrow, I thought it would add a little accountability if I shared.

For the month of June, our family is going to (try to) eat only (or mostly) whole foods. Definition for us: foods that are either in their natural state or contain 5 or fewer ingredients.** If you research plans for whole food eating there are several variations. Some are called clean eating. Others will not only eat whole foods but also limit certain foods (like grains, dairy, or sugar). Other variations would include a vegetarian or vegan or even raw vegan diet. I've spent some time researching many different "rules" or plans, and decided for now to leave it at foods in their natural state or with 5 or fewer ingredients. For me, this won't be so hard...except for my diet soda and coffee creamer and bagel thins and...okay, it isn't going to be easy.

1. I FEEL BETTER WHEN EATING WHOLE FOODS: I ate mostly whole foods while losing weight. Only recently I started eating more processed foods, and it wasn't helping me. I wasn't grabbing oreos, but I was snacking a bit too much on the kids' goldfish, pretzels or my own weight watchers ice cream sandwiches. And they were all making me feel blah!

2. IT IS EASIER TO MAINTAIN MY WEIGHT LOSS WHEN STICKING WITH WHOLE FOODS: I've pretty much stayed in the same 3-4 pound range since hitting my weight loss goal back in March. But what I've realized is that it is the processed junk (even if it is considered "healthy") that causes me to overeat and/or crave other foods that aren't so good.

3. I FEEL SATISFIED ON WHOLE FOODS: That feeling of satisfaction doesn't seem to happen when I have more processed foods in my diet. I can consume pretty much equal calories of a processed meal and a whole foods meal, but the whole food meal generally leaves me feeling energetic and content. Processed foods leave me wanting more.

4. WE WERE CREATED FOR MORE: We were created for more than cheetos and spongy white bread. I've been teaching Exercise Physiology for a few years now and every semester I'm blown away by a different aspect of our body that can adapt and keep us alive no matter what fuel we place in it. But we also function better (or at least I do) when the foods are closer to their own created state versus a manufactured state.

5. I DON'T WANT MY KIDS TO DEAL WITH THE SAME FOOD/WEIGHT ISSUES I DID: I don't want either of my kids to fear food, but I also don't want them to find their comfort in a frozen burrito the way I did. My hope and prayer is that if whole foods are their main source of nutrition, and I take time to teach them about nutrition and food preparation, they'll be less likely to develop weight issues...whether it be an eating disorder or obesity. I want them to appreciate that food is nourishment and yes, even enjoyment, but not our source of hope and joy.

I mentioned my kids. Yes, I'm going to do my best to have the whole family eating mainly non-processed foods. There may be some crying and pouting at the beginning, and that's just Andrew. I promised I'd still buy his Mountain Dew, but PopTarts were going to be exiled. Because I do most of the food preparation and shopping, what mama says, goes. But I also recognize that there will be times that the family will eat processed foods, and I promise not to freak out. If offered s'mores, what will we do? I'll probably pass (and look away), the family will eat them.

I'll keep you updated on the journey through June. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I'll also share a few more WHYs I'm working on: why I exercise (and why I won't buy P90X) and why I want to maintain my weight loss.

**This is not to be confused with a hole foods diet which would include doughnuts, bagels, doughnut holes, and swiss cheese. That kind of eating left me obese for most of my life.

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