You know the saying: “You can never really understand someone until you walk a mile in their shoes”? So guess what I did? I walked in Dave and Carol’s gym shoes at InsideOut Health & Fitness for a 45-minute training session. Now I really understand how hard they’re working to reach their goals. But the physical side of the journey is only one part of the equation. Another is diet, and what exactly they’re eating in conjunction with their workout regimen to achieve weight loss.
When Barry at InsideOut initially met Carol and Dave, he had them keep a journal of everything they ate and drank for a week. From this he was able to tweak their diets in collaboration with a nutritionist, and steer them toward healthier lifestyle habits. He encouraged clean eating and didn’t expect perfection right away since expecting perfection is a very quick road to failure. Instead Barry encourages honesty. With both Carol and Dave, Barry advised regulating blood sugar levels to avoid the dreaded “afternoon crash.” You know the one, when you’re reaching for a Kit Kat or box of Oreos? He also encouraged them to be mindful, not militant, about their wheat gluten, alcohol, caffeine, and refined sugar intake.
I found Carol’s upbeat attitude infectious when I spoke with her this month. I knew immediately things were going in the right direction for her. She still finds it slightly difficult to motivate herself to get to her workouts, but feels great afterwards. Carol kept a food journal for the first week of the program, but since has switched over using an app on her phone called ‘My Fitness Pal’, which tracks her caloric intake.
She found she was heavy on carbs and needed to increase her veggies and protein. It was all too easy after a day of work to eat the same food she prepared for her kids – for example, a big bowl of pasta. Now she’s changed that. She’s not depriving herself of the pasta; she just takes a much smaller portion and supplements with a protein and lots of greens.
Carol has also started eating breakfast, which is something she wasn’t accustomed to doing. She starts her day with a healthy bowl of oatmeal, an apple and a cup of tea. She finds this keeps her going until lunch. When she finds herself getting hungry for a snack, instead of picking up a bagel at Tim’s, she grabs a piece of fruit and a handful of almonds. Carol has found it’s easy to reward herself with a small piece of cake when attending a birthday party with her kids. The perks for making these changes? She’s already lost nine pounds and her clothes are fitting better!
Dave’s journey this month included Super Bowl Sunday. How do you get through Super Bowl Sunday when trying to lose weight? By not depriving yourself of four chicken wings and a small slice of that football-shaped cake. Like Carol, Dave has chosen to watch what he’s eating by also counting calories. As someone who has struggled since childhood with his weight, he knows the calorie counts of most foods. He’s aiming to consume 2,500 daily, but his calories can realistically fluctuate anywhere between 1,800 and 3,000 (Super Bowl Sunday).
Shedding the pounds is tougher now that he’s 55, but he’s having fun experimenting with new recipes and is particularly fond of Jamie Oliver’s ‘Brussels with Hustle’ recipe. Since Christmas he’s eliminated cakes, pies and chocolate from his diet. Breakfast consists of peanut butter on toast with an apple on the side, which clocks in at about 300 calories, and the slow release sugars are good for his Type 2 diabetes. He’s increased his intake of water but still treats himself to a Grande Skinny One Pump Mocha at Starbucks, which costs him 200 calories instead of the 390 of a regular Mocha. He’s had more good days than bad, he says.
Both Carol and Dave are tracking their calories daily and tweaking their current nutritional plan instead of making any drastic changes. Neither has deprived themselves on special occasions, but they’re exercising portion control. Every little step is part of the bigger picture.
Next month: a look at the emotional side of health and wellness.