Thursday, March 05, 2009

+16.8 (∆ -1.4)

My gym had a poster listing all the things you should do to improve your chances at losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle. As I went down the list, I made a mental checklist of the things I already do or don't do, and I was happy to see I already knew about, or was already doing, many of these things:

  • Veggies and fruit are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber, and they're low in calories. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may help you control your weight and your blood pressure.
  • Unrefined whole grain foods contain fiber that can help lower your blood cholesterol and help you feel full, which may help you manage your weight. (Didn't know whole grain foods made you feel more full, or even that they help lower your cholesterol.)
  • Eat fish at least twice a week. Recent research shows that eating oily fish containing Omega-3 fatty acids (for example, salmon, trout and herring) may help you lower your risk of death from coronary artery disease. (I knew fish was good for you because of Omega-3, but I didn't know about the twice a week thing. )
  • Choose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without any added saturated or trans fat.
  • Select fat-free, 1 percent fat, and low-fat dairy products. (It took me almost 10 years to completely wean myself off cow milk.)
  • Cut back on food containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet. (Fast food = bad.)
  • Cut back on foods high in dietary cholesterol. Aim to eat less than 300mg of cholesterol each day. (I knew cholesterol was generally bad, but I didn't know about the 300mg limit. See below.)
  • Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars. (Sodas are evil. Remember that guy in Supersize Me who drank 32 oz tubs of soda and got diabetes? In our house, we drink only one soda—diet A&W root beer—and it takes us weeks to go through a single 12 pack.)
  • Choose and perpare foods will little or no salt. Aim to eat less than 2,300mg of sodium per day. (I've always heard about using less salt, but never knew about the 2300mg limit. See below.)
  • If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. (Used to drink a huge amount of alcohol, but when you live in a city designed around the automobile, you find yourself drinking less than the city-dwellers. And since I'm eating less, a six pack of Newcastle can sit in our fridge for weeks simply because I don't want to expend any calories on a beer.)

The advice on cholesterol intake got me thinking. Thanks to my swanky iPhone app, I can easily check my daily and weekly cholesterol intake to see how well I've been doing so far. Up to now, I haven't been focusing on eating well, just eating less. So, out of simple curiosity, how well am I really eating?

They recommend consuming no more than 300mg of cholesterol every day and, thankfully, my weekly averages for cholesterol intake weren't that bad:

1/19: 147mg
1/26: 244mg
2/2: 281mg
2/9: 198mg
2/16: 336mg
2/23: 293mg

The one week I did go over, 2/16, is because I had pizza twice in one week.

As for sodium, I was shocked to see all my weekly averages well above the recommended 2300mg mark:

1/19: 3106mg
1/26: 3827mg
2/2: 3476mg
2/9: 4312mg
2/16: 3508mg
2/23: 3567mg

So now I'll be watching the sodium and cholesterol categories more carefully, and especially sodium. Who knew I had so much salt in my food? Instead of chips for lunch, I'll try cutting up bell peppers for that sweet crunchy goodness I'm so attached to.

No comments: