My H.E.A.L.T.H. plan – E for eating matters

ID-10082821.debspoonsEating matters to me, not only for my health and vitality, but also for my social interactions, for my sense of belonging and for participating in the celebrations of life. Unfortunately, over the past decades other reasons have clouded my judgement in choosing what is best for my long-term health and I had put on weight.

Earlier this year – once the pressure of the business and its sale lifted from my shoulders – I put my head up and looked around. I did not like what I saw. While I had my head down focussing on the crises I had been thrown into, the whole world had changed. Two-thirds of society had become overweight or obese. And I had joined them. I had gone from being ‘normal’ to being ‘normal’ – even though I had put on weight. I was still ‘normal’. I was ‘average’. I was one of the crowd. Yet I knew that, in this case, being normal (or average) and being overweight was not good for me. So I had this task ahead of me, to think of my weight in terms of ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’ rather than being ‘normal’ (or fat or thin). I had to think so highly of myself that I could cut through societal pressure to be ‘one of the gang’ when ‘the gang’ put the supposed pleasures of indulging in fine eating and drinking (all the time!) ahead of what is good for me. I had to break out of that thinking pattern.

This was a tough call, to change the way I thought about myself, to see myself as being ‘different’ from others and yet where I wanted to be – in the ‘healthy’ third of the population. To do that I had to take care of myself and I had to believe that I mattered enough to get there. This was a big step, to have a vision to become that person, to want to be that person, that healthy person, and do what was required to get there.

I formulated a plan to get me back into the healthy weight range. The plan included all aspects of my eating needs and my social interactions so it would not fail. It has become what I see as my sensible eating plan for life.

This is a summary of my H.E.A.L.T.H.plan for my own Eating matters:

Why
1. I eat for my good health, to establish and maintain myself in the healthy weight range, avoid obesity and the development (or at least delaying the onset) of the diseases of western society, in particular heart disease and diabetes.
2. For the enjoyment of connection with others and participation in celebrations.
3. As a response to hunger, not boredom, stress, reward, or prestige.

Who to consider
1. Me. In this space I am my first consideration. When on my own, I eat ultra-healthy foods.
2. When connecting with family, friends, colleagues; I eat mainly healthy foods and portion control moderately healthy foods.
3. I plan for any celebrations, allowing myself an indulgence or two.

When
1. I eat at planned mealtimes and take a break at those times. No excuses.
3. I always eat breakfast.
3. I schedule planned ‘mini-meals’, not impulsive snacks.
4. I eat an early dinner and avoid eating afterwards.

How
1. I eat sitting down and use a knife, fork, spoon or teaspoon (except healthy snacks).
2. I have full control over my eating. It does not control me.
3. I resist manipulation by food manufacturers.

Where
1. I eat at home, dining area at work or friends or a la carte restaurant/cafe.
2. I avoid fast-food restaurants, food swamps and impulse food snacks.
3. I never eat in my car, at my desk, in front of TV, or while walking.

What
1. I eat real food.
2. I drink water for thirst
3. I avoid drinking my calories/kilojoules.
4. I have the planned occasional indulgence of less healthy foods.

Which foods
1. I eat a balanced amount of core foods from the basic food groups.
2. I do not “diet” or avoid any food category such as carbs or fats.
3. I avoid the sixth good group (fatty foods, sweetened foods/drinks, junk food).

I am pleased to report that nine months after changing my approach to myself I reached my healthy goal weight, three months earlier than my aim. My blood lipid levels are extraordinarily very low, my blood glucose levels well within the normal range, and I am feeling fit, healthy and happy. Moreover I am enjoying connections with loved ones and at times of celebrations knowing that any eating indulgences at those times are within my healthy eating plan.

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Images.courtesy[debspoons]/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

37 thoughts on “My H.E.A.L.T.H. plan – E for eating matters

  1. Knowing you by now, I’m not a bit surprised that you reached your target ahead of schedule! Wish I had your self-control! But I have managed to lose 15 lbs since the end of May πŸ™‚

  2. There is an entire movement these days to eating whole foods, real foods, not processed food. I’m finding that the best way to go with my slowing metabolism.
    Well done, Elizabeth! When I began reading this post, I though you had the bulk of your work ahead of you but you began 9 months ago. You did it! Keep it up; you are an inspiration to all of us. πŸ™‚

    • “Divorce roller-coaster” … I know what you mean. I used that excuse to wallow and let my health slide for ages. Something made me snap out of it … finally. Good luck with your own attempts πŸ™‚

  3. This is excellent, Elizabeth! Two I copied to remember were under WHEN: #1. I eat at planned mealtimes and take a break at those times. No excuses. -and- the second #3 (you have two #3s) I schedule planned β€˜mini-meals’, not impulsive snacks. I knew them both, but you stated them so well that suddenly a light went on, an Ah Ha! moment, and they made sense. Thank you, and good luck to us both!

    • My down fall was impulse snacks, no food in particular (in fact sometimes healthy food) and just whatever was available in the fridge or cupboard. So now I schedule healthy mini-meals and do other things (such as go for a walk) at ‘impulse’ times when it is not really hunger I am feeling but rather boredom, tiredness, or stress.
      It seems to be working.
      thanks for your support and good luck with your progress too.

  4. Congratulations on reaching your healthy goal weight. I enjoyed reading your H.E.A.L.T.H. plan for eating. I especially like how you tried to eat a balanced amount of core foods. It resonated with how I try to eat.

  5. Congratulations on setting and hitting your target! Especially well in advance! I thought the post was extremely well written and sensible. My wife asked for me to pass it on!!

    One comment … is it necessary that we “compare” ourselves to others? Do we need to know we are “average” or “in the top third”? We are all good enough when we say so, not when we stack up well against the masses!!

    • Hi Ian. Body image has a lot to do with successful weight control. In gross terms, seeing oneself as fat or thin. I did not think either. I thought of myself as ‘normal’. My ah-ha moment came when I realized that ‘normal’ (or average) was no longer ‘healthy’. That realization was pivotal to my change in attitude. To lose weight permanently I had to change the image of myself in my head from being ‘normal’ (average) to being in the ‘healthy’ weight range, in the ‘healthy’ third of the population. I did not mean I was trying to be ‘better’ than others. However, I did mean I was trying to be better than the ‘average’ weight of the now overweight population.
      Thanks for the pointer though. I will go back and reword my post. I will follow it up with a more scientific post in a few weeks.

  6. I like this list of avoiding places where it is not healthy to eat on a regular basis, Elizabeth! You took a lot of time to produce this post which will help others. I don’t like to be “average” which is a great point! Striving for a longer life for me means more time to spend with family and friends! πŸ™‚ β™‘β™‘

    • I try to drink more water, add foods with less preservatives and more natural foods, bare apples versus dipping them in yummy caramel. Lol
      Nicely presented, Elizabeth. πŸ™‚

      • I think I could write six posts on the food choices I make … although I think people get a bit tired of hearing about food and diets. However, it fascinates me. I too eat mainly natural foods. They taste best too.

    • I think I have been making this list for over fifty years, gradually step by step, and making those aspects habits. I am glad that you do not want to be ‘average’ either. Let us hope that we will both be here for a long time yet, watching our grandchildren grow up.

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