Category Archives: take the next step

My Perfect Breakfast

In an effort to streamline my life and fitness routines I have begun eating a very simple breakfast. Normally, I have a few spoonfuls of Greek Yogurt and some granola. I wanted to look at the differences between eating my FIT granola with yogurt or 2% milk, as that is also an available staple in my house. Here’s what I found.

First the yogurt. Add the healthy pro-biotics, yogurt is an easy win. But how does it stack up against 2% milk?

FIT-yogurt

FIT-milk

5 grams of fat in 2% milk and 120 calories. I guess that’s better than 8 grams in whole milk.

8 grams of protein and 11 grams of carbs. While the yogurt has 20 grams of protein and 25 grams of carbs. And yes, that’s a lot of added sugar to the yogurt: 20 grams vs. 11 grams for milk. But in my book the less fat makes up for the added sugar. Let’s see how the granola adds to the total.

FIT-granola

Fat 2 grams, Sugars 3 grams, Protein 3 grams. A pretty solid mix. So for my morning meal the milk or yogurt makes a nice medium for the granola but has 60 more calories than the milk. I eat the FIT versions of granola which have less added sugar.

Eat well. Eat breakfast. Eat less.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney
@fitbytech

What Are You Drinking This Summer? My Silver Bullet Coffee and Dreamsicle Smoothie

Well, I started out with trying the Bulletproof Coffee, but I got lost at the starting gate. I liked the idea of not blowing up my blood sugar and energy with my first two cups of coffee, but I didn’t think the idea of meal replacement via butter and coconut oil was such a great idea. So I modified a bit to something that really works for me. I call it Silver Bullet Coffee, partially in homage to the Bulletproof idea, but also referring to the NutriBullet on Amazon blender I use to bring it all together. Here’s the process.

Cold or hot, I use my NutriBullet blender to mix extra goodies into my morning and afternoon coffee. Blending the mix gives the best taste, in my opinion.

HOT SILVER BULLET COFFEE

  1. Organic coffee (caff or decaf depending on your needs)
    Organic Coffee Company – Java Love / Keurig Cup
  2. Teaspoon of raw coconut oil. (source of calories and smooth internal functioning) Nature’s Way Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  3. Small teaspoon of Maca Powder (be careful with this stuff, start slow, build up. If you get too revved, dial back the Maca Powder first.) Navitas Maca Powder
  4. One shake of organic cinnamon, for taste. Organic Cinnamon
  5. 4 oz. of 2% organic milk.
  6. Ice.
  7. BLEND and ENJOY.

COLD SILVER BULLET COFFEE

Same ingredients over ice. BLEND and ENJOY. Occasionally for the cold Silver Bullet I will skip the coconut oil, since it clumps.

COLD DREAMSICLE SMOOTHIE

When it’s hot outside and I need a treat. But I’ve had all the coffee I can handle, I make my dreamsicle smoothie.

  1. Ice.
  2. Small scoop of orange sherbet or mango sorbet
  3. 1/2 teaspoon of raw organic honey
  4. 10 raw organic almonds
  5. 4 oz. of 2% organic milk
  6. 6 oz. of non-fat vanilla yogurt

Celebrating the Consistency of My Fitness Program

As I gain momentum in my wellness and health program it becomes easier for me to eat better, to remain conscious of all the additives I am not ingesting, and I become more committed to my plan. But the results may take longer than I would like. I was hoping that after 3 months and say 6 – 7 desserts (including 3 slips) I would’ve seen more evidence of my efforts.

I’m not sure what I was looking for. Probably a girlfriend, actually. But let’s stick with the health aspects. I have enjoyed the feeling of mastery that comes with gaining control of and insight into my cravings. And, even with this new awareness, I have not hammered myself too hard for the few times I veered hard for a sweet or two. It’s all about the path and the progress.

It’s the journey I’m learning to enjoy, not the miraculous results of my new “diet” program.

And even with all of my positivism and esteem boosting perceptions of my new-found self-control, I have been a little disappointed that I’m not 20 pounds lighter, and 10 years younger. Of course, I just discovered coconut mana, so I’m willing to give myself another 30 days… Oh, wait.

No, I’m still happy with where I am. I’m a little rounder than I’d expected given all of my effort and exercise, but it’s the journey I’m learning to enjoy, not the miraculous results of my new “diet” program. That’s never been my goal. It’s been a tangential result, perhaps, that I’d expected to see as a side effect of my work, but still… Well, still, I was hoping for more than I achieved.

The good news is, for me, in 2015 I’m MORE committed to my health and wellness efforts than when I started in October. I *have* seen the results more in my self-awareness and self-image. I think I’m becoming more realistic about who I am and what my goals are. I still think I’m 42 instead of 52, but that’s a slightly different angle.

And while I am continuing my efforts in a more focused way, by writing about it, I can also see evidence, by the hole in these shoes, that I am putting in the work.

Along the three-month journey, I’ve learned that celebrating the victories is important for me. And today, I had a minor win that seemed worth pulling up into the spotlight.

Of course, my journey began long before I started writing about it. I’ve been re-investing a good amount of time and effort in strengthening and feeding my desire to get fit. And this past summer, I needed a new pair of tennis shoes, as I had accidentally packed mine in my storage unit after I sold my house.

Today, 7 months later, I have the worn through the sole of those shoes. That’s a good bit of time on the court. And what I see in these shoes is a victory. I am doing it. And while I am continuing my efforts in a more focused way, by writing about it, I can also see evidence, by the hole in these shoes, that I am putting in the work.

I ordered new tennis shoes online. And today, that’s a huge victory.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney
@fitbytech

related posts:

fitbytech-tennis

What’s In Your Coffee?

UPDATE June 2015: I am not trying to skip my morning meal any more. I am now adding only coconut oil to my coffee for the blood sugar balancing effect. I like it. Makes internal digestion run more smoothly as well. (Read: Never Give Up post for more updates)

Stage One – Radical

Bulletproof Coffee is one of those ideas you hear about and go “What?” Butter in your coffee? And what’s all this hype about coconut oil? Please, anything that professes to cure all these things has to be 90% magical thinking, right?

Well, this morning was my first shot of BPC and here are my initial reactions.

  • Not too bad.
  • 3 hours into my morning and I’m just deciding to eat breakfast.
  • Perhaps I need to look into what coffee I’m drinking again.
  • Sure is handy that I was given a NutriBullet blender for Christmas.

Of course that’s not going to be enough to sustain my interest. Here are a few of the things that I heard about drinking BPC.

  • You’ll lose weight like crazy.
  • It will eliminate blood sugar surges and drops.
  • It tastes awesome.

And on day one there are only two of those claims I have any data on. Here’s my take.

The BPC I made today was tasty. I know the blending is the key, and mine was quite frothy and tasty. I didn’t really notice the butter/coconut that much. I could tell there was something else in the coffee, but it was pretty much the same. So, butter in my coffee doesn’t taste bad… WIN.

And in my normal routine, I’d be looking for food and breakfast within an hour or so of starting my day. Usually two cups in and I’m switching to decaf (if I want more) and hankering for an egg or bowl of low-fat granola. This morning I never even thought about my energy or blood sugar. And three hours later I was interested in food, but it wasn’t from a jittery need, it was just time to eat and I was hungry. WIN.

Of course, the whole hubbub about it won’t be very interesting if the top reason, weight loss doesn’t kick in. But again, that’s more of a long-term result. Let’s just enjoy the ride so far, shall we. And I’ll keep you up to date on my journey.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney
@fitbytech

related posts:

reference: How to make bulletproof coffee – The Bulletproof Exec

image:  trying bulletproof coffee for the first time, cc 2014 john mcelhenney, creative commons usage

fitbytech-bulletproof

Winter Wellness Question: To Tea or Not to Tea?

Looking for a warm beverage during a cold day I began experimenting with decaf coffee and various teas. I went to the store and grabbed a couple Keurig boxes without reading the ingredients. I mean, we’re talking tea and coffee, right?

Here’s what I learned after I spit out the first sip of the “chai latte.” (I didn’t notice the latte part, I thought it was chai tea.

First the chai tea I was familiar with from Twinnings.

tea-ingredients

Okay, that’s looking good. But the one that I bought on my recent run to get more… Um, a “latte…” was an entirely different beast. I was fooled by the packaging which looked very similar. I was so sure of what I was buying that I didn’t read the ingredients.

latte-ingredients

Yeah, well it’s got coconut oil, that’s good right?

The taste was more like ice cream than tea. How many different ways can they say sugar? (1. sugar, 2. glucose syrup, 3. modified food starch, 4. sucralose.) Not so yum. A couple phosphates and one dioxide, and I wasn’t in the mood.

In looking to get healthier we can trip into areas that look promising but are loaded with bad stuff.

My anti-desert willpower is strong. I skipped my daughter’s birthday cake and ice cream. I’m saving it for my pumpkin pie. But when I was invited to dinner with my mom and brother at a local tex mex restaurant… Well, let’s just say I had some chips and queso. I did stop after one chicken fajita knowing that I would be heading into stuffed land if I proceeded. An extra lap around the lake tomorrow, the weather is supposed to be amazing.

The holidays are for eating. But we can do a bit better by not over eating, and when given a choice, eating only the things we know are healthy. As the weather has turned cold it’s harder to get motivated to work out. And the cold weekend afternoon on Sunday called for a nap rather than a walk.

Get back up tomorrow and go after it again. And pumpkin pie on Thursday, after NOT gorging myself on turkey and extras.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney
@fitbytech

related posts:

 

chai-tea-vs-latte

Weight Loss vs Wellness: Measuring the Circumference of the Moon

I remember distinctly the moment I learned to suck in my stomach. I was in 7th grade and heading back into the locker room from a football workout. I had taken off my pads and was in the customary half-shirt. And as I saw a cheerleader coming my direction down the hallway, I remember sucking in my gut, thinking, “There’s Betty.” She noticed me. She missed the sucking in part. A week later we were “going steady” whatever that means in 7th grade. I’m sure we kissed a bit.

As an adult male I still have this reaction when I see an attractive woman. I’m trying to notice when I do it, and see who or what triggered the response. One big awareness I came to, after watching my own reflection in a store window at the mall:

You can’t suck in your love handles.

I’m walking away from the old unconscious eater, and becoming a stronger, healthier, and eventually thinner person.

Crap. That’s where my shape gets it’s shape. From the front you don’t really notice my stomach, though it could be a lot slimmer, you notice my handles. I’m sure this is a similar conundrum that has plagued ladies for a long time.

So, part of this quest is about understanding my own body, my impressions of self, and how I talk to myself about body image and fitness. And while weight loss seems to be a natural goal of this program/site whatever I am doing here, my real focus is fitness and wellness. Oh, and love handle reduction.

I was talking to my brother yesterday about health and fitness. (He had a heart attack two years ago, and I was curious about his wellness and fitness activities.) He wanted to know how my weight loss was coming. I had to think about it.

“I don’t even know, right now. That’s not exactly my focus.”

“Oh,” he said. “It this restaurant okay for your diet?”

“Yes,” I said. “I can make better choices where ever I go. That’s really what I’m writing about. How to step towards my goals, rather than away from them. And understanding what’s going on in my thinking when I’m craving something sweet or salty, and trying to keep going for the healthy meal.”

And I’m still thinking about this question 10 hours later. “What is my diet? Am I on a diet?”

Here’s what I think I’m “on.”

  • Learning about my own psychology of cravings, snacking impulses, and when/why I make poor choices.
  • Uncovering resistances to exercise and removing them.
  • Exercising more frequently and upping the intensity as my body is ready for it.
  • Choosing the apple over the Triscuit every time.
  • Watching portions and overall intake at all times. I would eat until I was full. Now I try to leave a little room. “Room to not grow on.”
  • Eliminate unconscious sugar. When I eat a sweet or dessert I want to enjoy it. But sugar in my tortilla chip, no way.
  • Awareness of my energy and daily cadence. Often I will break with the program when I’m extremely tired or overly hungry.
  • Listening to my negative self talk and gently modifying the phrases to be loving and supportive, rather than hurtful or shameful.
  • Accepting exactly where I am, every day, and starting from there. No matter what I ate yesterday, or how many times I worked out, I can begin again each day with a YES attitude.
  • Focus on the health and wellness benefits of my program rather than focusing on weight loss.
  • Loving my love handles into smaller and smaller versions of themselves.
  • Getting to a point in my fitness where I don’t have to suck in my stomach, ever.
  • Taking the next step towards fitness and wellness, always.
I am learning about myself and why I eat certain foods and how those foods affect my body and make me feel.

I’m not on a quick weight loss plan. I know there are plenty more things I could do right this second to radically improve my weight loss program, but I’m trying to build a lifestyle and enjoy the journey. I could meet with a fitness coach, I could start with a trainer or life coach, I could get more serious about what I’m doing, but I’m not that serious about it. Well, I am, but my “way” is going to be more organic, more about me and my thinking. And of course, my eating and exercise are a huge part of that. Along the way I may ask questions of my friends who are trainers, fitness buffs, coaches, nutritionists, but I think I’m happy with my progress so far, regardless of my love handle measurement.

I am learning about myself and why I eat certain foods and how those foods affect my body and make me feel. I am learning how to control my sugar intake and overall calorie intake: never over eat, always feel my way through a meal, and when I’m satisfied stop eating. I do not ever need to be a member of “the clean plate club” of my childhood. And dessert, while a staple in my family of origin, is more of a rare treat in my life. And every day I can make better choices.

I’m walking away from the old unconscious eater, and becoming a stronger, healthier, and eventually thinner person. My plan is working perfectly. And the measurement today, is inside.

I didn’t get my love handles overnight, and I won’t reduce them in an overnight fast either.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney
@fitbytech

Most annual weight gain is due to the holiday feasts.Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 8.32.39 AM

 

And sugar intake has become a big problem for all of us.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 8.31.58 AM

References and Inspirations:

fitbytech-lovehandles

Even the Smallest Detail Says Something About Me

I’ve got a confession to make, and it’s not pretty. It’s more like a toadstool, actually. It’s a fungus. Here you go.

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 3.14.43 AMGross, right? Of course, that’s the treatment, not the issue. The issue is a lot deeper, I’m afraid.

If we can put off getting fit, the big issues, how easy it becomes to sublimate the smaller issues. But it’s the smaller issues that may hold an important key.

Take a look at the smallest detail of your health and wellness program and ask yourself how am I doing at caring for myself? Am I taking care of the details? See if you stay focused on the bigger issues, like weight loss and blood pressure and eating less sugar, you might miss some of the more insidious issues, the ones that have plagued you for a while, but that you tend to ignore.

Here’s the meta question. How are you taking care of yourself?

As you let the small issues go, in my case a gross big toe, you are giving your body, and your overall self-image a deep and powerful message. “It’s not all that important.” Oh, but it is.

I am learning this all the time. The subtle ways you treat yourself illustrate deeper issues. When you ignore a little problem, like a painful tooth, or an unhealthy toe, you are sending a ton of on-going messages to yourself. I’m not worth it. I don’t have time to take care of myself. It’s not that important. It can wait.

All of these internal sounding boards will undermine your best plans. I’m still not ready to make the call to the laser-empowered doctor above. But why not? Money? Time? Fear? I don’t know, exactly. What I do know, is that this “shame” of mine, that I’ve been carrying around in my shoe for over 10 years, is not going to go away on its own. The creams and over-the-counter remedies are not going to miraculously start working, no matter what the guy in the nail salon says about *his* treatment, for just $21.98.

But the issue is more about me. I discount the problem. I don’t listen to the groans of my daughter when she spots my toe during a summer swim. I don’t hear my body saying, “Hey, we’ve got a problem down here. Are you listening?”

And with every action I take that is not making the appointment and getting my toe treated, is a step away from my own self-care. Why wouldn’t I take care of it?

Get clear, get clean, and get honest with yourself, down to the minor details of the big picture.

It undercuts my work on my overall wellness, I think. Sure, I’m newly focused on the big issues: committing to eating quality “whole” foods, getting more exercise, and helping my body shed some of its *sad* weight. If we can put off getting fit, the big issues, how easy it becomes to sublimate the smaller issues. But it’s the smaller issues that may hold an important key.

If we begin to identify and address even the smallest issue, we are telling ourselves, “Yep, you are worth it. Even to the smallest detail. You are worth being more svelte in your skin, and you are worth having healthy and sparkling toenails.” I continue to try and tell myself it don’t matter. Every thing matters.

So out with the little pains, the little shames, the little issues we choose to ignore. In the same way I am ferreting out the hidden sugar in my life, I’m now going to illuminate the hidden issues that I tend to hide or write off as unimportant. If I am really committed to wellness and self-care, no issue is off the table.

In the morning, I check with this laser dude and see if my insurance will cover any of the treatment.

Get clear, get clean, and get honest with yourself, down to the minor details of the big picture.

I love the phrase, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. And by the way, it’s all small stuff.” And the corollary is just as true. The details are essential to understanding the whole. Sugar intake is an easy target for improvement. How well I take care of myself and my little issues, is core to unlocking my full sparkling and healthy body.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney
@fitbytech

Reference: Harvard Family Health Guide on Toenails
Your toenails reveal a lot about your overall health and can provide the first sign of a systemic disease.

fitbytech-NO

In many ways I’m telling myself, “No, you’re not worth it.”

Reviewing, Releasing, and Resetting My Goals – Month One

I declare my misery over.
I am in the process of creating a new song of myself.

Oh, I’ve been putting off my “weigh-in” a bit to see if I can get a few pounds lighter before I report in. That’s silly. I’m not really tied to that outcome, but I am still emotionally connected to it as some measure of success. I mean, if you’re here on this journey with me, you want to see success, right? I know I do. But I’ve got a different spin I’m trying on myself, let’s see if I can unpack my first month of self-awareness.

Some wins right away.

  • Zero Halloween candy. Not even a taste. And it’ wasn’t a challenge once I set my mind back on track.
  • Heading into November, my birth month, and thanksgiving, and I know I’m on track to have my best Holiday season ever, because I’m still attacking my sugar intake with a vengeance.
  • Only two bloated moments in the entire month – both times I ate pizza, too much pizza btw.
  • Both times I slipped into a sugar/dessert coma I make a conscious choice to do so, and to observe myself in the process and the hours afterwards.
  • My attitude is shifting away from my cravings and emotional hunger, towards a positive refactoring of what I eat and when I eat it.
  • My energy has been solid all week. I’m learning how to regulate my pre-workout food so that I don’t “need” a sugary sports drink. (Yes, even evaporated cane sugar, is sugar.)
  • I have not bashed myself or my body for where we are on the path towards a healthier me. NOT ONCE.

It’s the last observation that I think is the most important discovery. I learned early in my life, that my weight gave me power. As a 7-year-old Texas football player, I was also just under the weight limits for our tiny-player league. With that extra advantage I was a freight train when they handed me the ball. I experienced success as an athlete very early, and a lot of it had to do with my fantastic body. I was not concerned about my “fat” body, an neither was the coach who walked me around spitting and trying to pee before the weigh-ins. To him I was a winning season.

I am turning this new process of discovery in to a winning season for myself. I am where I am, and I am getting more loving and more fit at the same time. Get it? It’s very hard for any of us to truly love our bodies. Even the amazingly fit are struggling with body image issues as well. If we could release the body image hurt inside us, we’d probably be a lot happier. Like yoga, releasing and uncoiling all those years of damaging self talk, and societal “thin” pressure, has wreaked havoc on our own internal monologues.  We are awful to ourselves. I’m stopping that completely. Done!

So even in my attempts to become more fit, more healthy, I am also accepting the challenge to being more loving towards my love handles. More accepting of all of this process. I have wins, I have slips, I am human. But I am happy with my steps back towards my goals, and every time I return to this blog, I am reaffirming my love of myself. By taking better care of our bodies we are giving ourselves the message that we love ourself. (Powerful, yet a bit woo woo, right?)

Let me look at a few of the areas where I missed, if only for examination, and not chastisement.

  • I had pizza with my kids twice. I could’ve given them pizza and had something else.
  • I still had my usual medium popcorn at three movies. No butter and water to drink, but I have a little info on what’s in movie popcorn…
  • A few times I let my hunger (aka blood sugar drop) get too fierce and I’ve made poorer choices than I would’ve had I been more aware of myself.
  • I jumped on the scale, two weeks in, expecting, hoping, praying for some continuation of my first 5 days of weight loss. (I’m still hesitating on my weigh-in, right now.)
  • I’ve had some late-night snack runs, and even while I was eating only tamari-salted almonds and honeycrisp apples, I know I was giving in to some craving, rather than listening for hunger.
  • I let my laziness con me into eating a sugar filled “organic” cereal when I ran out of my uber-healthy cereal.
  • I’m happy with me, but I’m dreading weighing myself.

Today is the start of the second lap on my renewed fitness and wellness program. I’m happy and content with what I’ve learned and where I’m heading. Two big holidays are right ahead, and I feel empowered rather than restricted by my choices away from sugar and stuffing myself.

As I love myself a bit more, I’m able to see how caring for my fitness is part of that relationship. The relationship between body and mind may be the core that I am strengthening in this process. Sure, we need to do core exercises too, but for me, the emotional healing is harder to address than the physical. We can all eat better and exercise more, and we can all make ourselves miserable.

I declare my misery over. I am in the process of creating a new song of myself. I am singing my own praises and basking in the glow of every success. And even the missed opportunities have lessons, maybe lessons that are rooted in deep and unconscious memories.

Here’s to a happy start for November, my birth month, where I typically get a surge of energy and clearer focus for the next year to come. This is MY month, baby, I’m here to take it.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney
@fitbytech

fitbytech-murray-hendrix

Bill Murray is a hero of self-acceptance, and my most memorable “brush with greatness.” And Jimi Hendrix and I share Nov. as our birth month. Let’s be more musical and loving towards ourselves and others.
–bill murray promo photo, creative commons usage

My Simple Health Plan

FIRST: Eat better. As a trend, habit, lifestyle, take the almond over the Oreo. The crisp and delicious organic apple over the boxed snack.

SECOND: Eat less. It’s fine to eliminate sugar and unnatural additives, but you’ve also got to eat less of what you do eat. I’m not sure I could OD on bananas or apples, but I’m certain I won’t lose weight eating the same amount of chicken, just because it’s organic and not deep-fried. Portion control is a thing. Just start smaller. The check-in. “Still hungry? How about an apple next?”

THIRD: More movement. 5 days a week is great, but I’ve got to up the intensity a bit too. And some days I’ll go for a second walk. Like yesterday, I walked 2 miles to dinner and back. It was still a nice dinner, but it gave me a little boost in both directions and made my Nike Fuelband do it’s GOAL dance.

I know how my body can feel. I am happy with the way it has responded to my renewed commitment to getting in shape.

Those are the large tectonic shifts I’m looking for. Add a few ongoing details like water as my main beverage, and nutritional supplements, and you’ve got my entire plan.

Oh wait, I got the message this afternoon while I was doing my cardio tennis workout. I was wondering what I was going to say to a friend about how it’s going. And I got the main message, my main goal of this whole process. (Pause, it’s a bit woo woo.)

I’m learning to listen to and respect my body in a new way. Where in the past I have been angry with myself, gotten down on my lack of willpower, I am turning that around to the positive side. My rational program is about loving myself more. Loving all the wild fluctuations I am, in my energy, my eating, my creative jolts, everything. And even my love handles. I’m loving them away, if I have any success with my self-directed plan, but I’m loving them even still.

I am not trying to diet my way into a more datable man. That’s an end goal, I have on my play, but it’s over all diet and not dieting that is the key to staying with my new agenda. And this isn’t a short-term program either. I’m not ever going back to lazy snacking and unhealthy weekend binges. Why would I?

I know how my body can feel. I am happy with the way it has responded to my renewed commitment to getting in shape. It’s not all going to drop off in 30 days. But I am creating a lifestyle and a habit of eating and exercising that will serve me well in to the second half of my life.

EASY. Eat better. Eat less. Exercise more. Drink water.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney
@fitbytech

You Can’t Out Exercise a Poor Diet

That’s what one of my first Twitter responses was to my launch of this fitness/wellness/health blog. I realized that getting my exercise in action was only half (maybe less) of the plan. And today, I’m wondering if my “rational” approach is still to soft. Hard to tell with less than 30-days under my belt. But the real awareness is this: food is huge. If you are eating crappy, as I was, you can run your ass off and you’re still going to be fat. UG!

Better food, less food, is my laid back nutrition plan.

Another friend today, said, “I started eating based on how I wanted to feel in 30 minutes. By keeping that in mind I could regulate what I was putting into my system.”

That’s the ticket.

I used to say all the time that I could care less about food. I wasn’t picky. (Except I really was.) I just needed to eat to live. I wasn’t a #foodie or all that interested in cooking or gourmet meals. That stuff actually bored me to tears.

But, I started working with a company that had a cooking app for they iPhone and I quickly realized how little I knew about food. And even the food I was eating, thinking very little about it, was actually harmful to me. What?

I think the first big AH HA was about tilapia. I used to eat a bit of it from my local grocer who did some creative things with corn-chip encrusting and all, things that made it very easy to prepare. Except, my foodie friend first pointed out to me, farm-raised tilapia is poison. I was both horrified and bummed out. It was such an easy meal for my kids.

So tilapia went on the do-not-eat list. Right next to any-food-from-a-box or bag, which included all forms of chips and snacks. What in the world was I supposed to eat. I remember learning about a little of this stuff and changing some of my family’s eating habits. Some, I say, because I still really loved Triscuits and corn chips. Nothing wrong with those, right? Um…

Today I know better. Even the seemingly benign Triscuit is loaded with crap. Even the wheat is crap. Yeah, nice that they switched to ‘sea salt’ as an ingredient, but it’s not enough. No Triscuits.

And more exercise, more frequently is my activity plan.

I’ve been fairly slow in my refactoring. I’ve taken out all the things I know are bad. I’ve kept a few marginal things (eggs, bacon) and tried to move my eating habits towards whole foods. And secondly, towards less food overall.

Better food, less food, is my laid back nutrition plan. With a multi-supplement for my overall nutrition. And more exercise, more frequently is my activity plan. I even have 3 X per week cardio workouts, aimed at increasing my MaxVO.

Again, all of that is fairly subtle. I’m not on some crash diet, or crash fitness/workout plan. I’ll know in several months (heading into Thanksgiving and Christmas) how my rational plan is working.

I know if things don’t improve in my overall fitness, I’ll have to step things up again. I suppose that might look like running more than walking. And maybe being a bit more restrictive on my intake. I’m happy today, and I’m making strides towards my life goal. And in this gentle way I’m stepping towards fitness rather than falling away from it. That’s the easy plan. Let’s see how it goes.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney
@fitbytech

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image: triscuit, quinn dombrowski, creative commons usage