Friday, May 11, 2012



So often when we eat we do it without even thinking about it. There is a bowl of chips on the table and we grab a handful. We're in line at a fast food restaurant and we make a quick decision because they are busy and you are starving. As a compulsive over eater I was guilty of this a LOT. I never thought about most of what I put into my body other than that it sounded good at the moment. I usually opted either for salty, highly processed foods or sugary and/or chocolaty confections. Often when I started with one I had to balance it out with the other creating a full-fledged binging cycle.

Understanding our choices and learning to make better ones is essential for losing weight and for maintaining your goal weight. Every time you put food in your mouth you are making a choice. Before you eat it (or drink it), think about it.

There is probably no more simple example of this than the labels on your food at the grocery store. I'll be honest, two years ago I had no idea what three-quarters of that information meant. I had no idea what I was supposed to eat and how all of those tiny little numbers affected my health. When you go to the grocery store you are faced with hundreds (thousands) of choices. We're all always in a hurry so we ordinarily don't take the time either to learn what our bodies need or to look at the labels on our food to see what we are putting into our bodies. If you are going to start feeling better it's time to start.

Ideally most of what you put in your body won't have a label because it's a fresh fruit or vegetable. About three-quarters of the food that I eat is fresh. I look at the labels for everything else.

What am I looking for? Well....for me I consider a few things. I am primarily concerned with sodium when I look at labels. I would also look at fat and calorie content but I generally don't buy pre-packaged things that are high in calories and fat. I buy lots of canned beans and canned vegetables and it is amazing the difference in sodium content in different brands of canned vegetables and beans. Read your labels. If your doctor has told you to be cautious about fat/calories/sodium/potassium.....whatever....LOOK for it. That's why that information is there. You don't have to sit down with a calculator and figure out your daily allowance....just make the best choice.

When Brennis was first released from the hospital and I had started cooking for him I thought I was making good choices.....I wasn't always correct. For instance I started buying Turkey Kielbasa instead of the regular beef or pork Kielbasa I had bought for years since turkey is lower in fat. Since I didn't read the label I had no idea that turkey kielbasa is generally much higher in sodium (they have to do SOMETHING to the turkey to get it not to taste like turkey!). I wasn't really helping Brennis at all. I was just trading one bad thing for another. The same is true of a lot of "low fat", "no fat", "healthy" foods out there. Many of them trade fat for sodium or are so packed with unidentifiable chemicals that the have negated all of their supposed "benefits".....not to mention that they often taste just awful.

Once you realize that everything you eat....every piece of food you put into your mouth is an important choice the easier it will be for you to start making good choices. Feeding your body is no different than fueling your car. Your car won't work well if you put inferior gasoline in the tank. The same is true of our bodies. Making intelligent, informed choices is how you start to take charge of fueling your body and make the most of the food you eat. It begins right now and every time you make that motion of bringing your hand to your mouth with another bite. Ask this the best choice right now? You know the answer. Listen. But first you have to ask the question.

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