Eating 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.