Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
April 2, 2017
April Fool’s day is certainly the worst day of the year. I hate going up and down the ol’ Facebook feed and seeing all of these notices on my page. I have to decipher which one is real and which one is fake, and it can become a hassle. And then you have the posts where people are getting all triggered and such, saying don’t you dare say you are doing this or doing that, because I don’t want to hear it! Okay Buzz Killington, take it easy and take a stark look at your life. If this sort of tomfoolery bothers you, then you have some other stuff that is deep rooted and maybe you should enjoy the outdoors on a day like this. Stay off social media or something. Seriously, I had an ordeal with a little bit of that at work yesterday, where my customer did not believe the fact that my system broke down and the entire network had been knocked out. It took five minutes, but he finally believed me and hung up. Fortunately that was the last call of the day and it was glorious going home as the place was in chaos. That meme with Leonardo DiCaprio really suited me that day. Ending my day on a high note was not the only thing that really made sojourn home feel wonderful, but the fact that I was embarking on a rather crazy adventure…food shopping.
Okay, for most of you, just going food shopping means nothing, but let me tell you about my habits. For the longest time, I never went food shopping. Doing such a thing was a rarity, unless I needed some huge bag of chips or some candy. So yes, I got into this mentality of just going to the store just about every day and picking some thing up. When you have a serious food addiction, the biggest thing is fully understanding how it worked for you. When it came to me, I kept as little food in the house as I could. The obvious reason was the fact I would eat out so much, almost to the point where people at the fast food places would kind of prepare themselves for the massive amount of food I would order. Of course, going to the fast food joints would become boring from time to time, and I would have to switch it up as well. Sometimes, there were days where I—gasp!—didn’t want pizza. And this was the reason why I kept little food in the house…it gave me a chance to take advantage of the junk food sales. Every week seemed to bring something different, and it gave me a chance to really wet my whistle when the sales would hit. I mainly did this for the soda sales, but occasional they would have some primo candy and potato chips sales. That was certainly one reason why I would gorge like that, but the other reason was to give me an excuse to go to the store in the first place. I mean, I knew where I wanted to go and what I wanted buy, but not buying in bulk was part of the ritual for me. I felt a real joy when I would buy the snacks I wanted, like some kind of contact high whenever you buy and consume. Buying in bulk meant I would not be back for days, and sometimes just stuffing my face would not have been enough. I got so used to the fast food mentality that engulfed my normal habits. This is why it has always been weird for me to buy a lot of stuff at the grocery store. While these days part of the reason is to ensure better quality with my vegetables and fruits, it is still a part of the ritual that makes me who I am. The joy of buying something new simply felt wonderful. The only thing is I have replaced much of the bad food buying with good buying, going on a regular basis to get a glimpse of any marked down fruit or veggies. I also try to get my fill of good organic deals (and I almost felt like going off on a couple of out of shape co-workers, who basically put down organic fruit as styrofoam….even though they looked like they haven’t eaten fruit in years. SHOTS FIRED!!!)
This is not to say I still have some setbacks. One time I went to my store and they had a massive deal on black bean patties from Gardein. Needless to say, I went crazy and bought four or five packs. That was where the food addict in me kicked in, for I trotted over to another store that had Chao cheese on special (go figure) and bought a whole bunch of packs. Well, I was eating a lot of sandwiches with peppers and pickles over the next couple weeks, mainly because I felt compelled to eat like that because I had the product available. It was worsened by the fact that all of the Gardein products were on special, so I was eating black bean patties with “chicken” pieces (grain based of course). Fortunately I was running regularly, so I was killing the calories like crazy. And of course, there is also the other “crack” item I keep running into, and that is potato chips. Sigh, I remember when I made the grandiose announcement years ago that I was not eating potato chips anyway. That lasted a good year, but the discipline is gone. This was well before I discovered Pik Nik Sticks. Well before I heard of the Boulder Chip company, or the Kettle chip company of that matter. Seriously, the worst part about those darn companies is the fact they keep making more and more varieties. Seriously, the day I saw Roasted Garlic for the Kettle Chips, I went nuts and bought three bags. Or avocado oil cooked Salt and Pepper chips from Boulder..dear lawd!! I felt gross for buying that stuff that at least it took me a good two weeks to finally get all of those chips finished off.
So why am I talking so much about buying food, which is such a pedestrian thing to do in this country of ours? Well, it is because I have to start putting my mouth where my mind is. Or is that money where my mouth is? Hmm, can’t really find a good metaphor for this situation. Well, what I was intending to do was start a more controlled eating regimen. The problem I have been having over the past few months has been the fact a lot of my bad eating habits are creeping back into my life. The binge eating has been the biggest problem, mainly due to stress and other issues related to my job. I mean, the lack of activity is making my gut get bigger and making my butt get fatter (though it could be all the leg and core work I have been doing lately, but I will blame the sitting)…and of course the portion control problem). Something has had to give over the last few months, and that change is going to start happening right now. I went shopping, and I mean I really went shopping for the first time in a long time. When developing a good shopping list, you have to really take the first step and look at what is going on in your own pantry. For me, I have unused lentils, Spanish rice and rolled oats. I have plenty of beans and hot sauce and nothing else. What a pathetic display when you really think about it.
So I comprised a list of food that I will be prepping for the upcoming week, and since I am in a high carb mentality right now, I will be focusing on a lot of complex carbohydrates while trying to avoid some of the other carbs that have been plaguing me that last few months. One problem I have been experiencing is my bagel habit, which has been fueled by Chompie’s Bakery based here in Arizona. The other problem is the fact I eat everything in burrito form, so avoiding the high calorie tortillas will be helpful. So yes, two my favorite things had to be removed right off my usual listing. Now this doesn’t mean I am eliminating them forever, but at least this week they will be gone. Anyway, I focused on the basics when I went to the Fry’s Superstore near my house. I started off with the grains that will definitely keep me fueled, getting plenty of brown rice and staying away from the less than healthy basmati and jasmine rices that I eat way too much of. I then got plenty of quinoa—both red and white—while also getting a healthy bag full of lentils. In regards to getting more bang for your buck health wise, using those three items as the base of your operations will be essential. For this week, I intend do something rather stir fry friendly, which is why I bolted over to the produce section and got plenty of peppers, onions, carrots and even some sundries tomatoes. The only fruit I got was some bananas, mainly because they only had one reduced price bundle on the rack…not to mention they were the only bananas that were even remotely ripe. I decided to pass on the spinach for the time being, mainly because the plan is to get the spinach closer to my work week so I don’t let it sit in the fridge too long.
Anyway, I got the other essential item all vegans need, and that is beans. I didn’t really buy much since I still have a lot of beans at my disposal, but I figured it was best get some. My intention is not to necessarily make beans this week, but to make a quinoa-lentil mix with plenty of greens and opinions along with a mix of baked tofu and broccoli. And this is coming from a guy that hates broccoli!! Anyway, I figured this would be a good meal to have for dinner while focusing on fruit and spinach during the daytime. This was why I decided to not get the fruit for this trip, which will work in favor of my weird mind by giving me a reason to go to the store while also keeping my internal purity standards. Right now, I have not thought about potential smoothies, but you just know what is gonna be on the horizon. This means I will probably join the Mason Jar brigade that is so prevalent on the internet amongst my juicing friends. For right now, I have to resort to something that fits into my high carb lifestyle. Of course, just to let you know, shopping wasn’t all that easy. I still bought some organic apple and raspberry “newtons” from a vegan friendly company, but by doing that it will keep me a little less stressed. At least I will have a little sweet snack to much on while I try to switch up my portion issues. I also bought some nuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and unsweetened coconut shavings. I intend to make my own trail mix and portion out a bit of it daily just in case I have a major urge to start eating some kind of snack friendly food. You see, part of the problem for me is my oral fixation, and small snacks are a boon for appeasing that sensation.
I will admit, even though I kept the good food at a premium and the bad stuff at bay, I still bought some Gardein meatballs for a future week where I will make pasta as the primary meal. The main difference during that week however will be the fact the portions will be smaller, which will be a real test for me when I decide to go that route. Beyond that, I managed to survive walking through the potato chip “aisles.” Yup, you see, at my grocery store they have one aisle for all the mainstream potato chips and then had an aisle for the low yield, smaller companies that actually make their chips with good ingredients. I have failed many times going down this aisle, mainly because something is always on special (sound familiar) and I have weak control over my senses. But I was strong, resisted the urge and walked past. That felt like a small victory for me considering I have walked out with three or four bags of chips every time I go down that aisle. I also survived the walk through the freezers that have the almond and coconut based ice creams, which is especially difficult since they have a respectable selection as well as being better priced than the pretentious stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts.
Now I will not boast too much about my adventures in the shopping game. I was tempted to get certain things, especially when you consider the fact the Gardein products were on special. But that will be part of the plan for me in regards moving…trying to survive and clean up my diet. I will not completely be a zealot going forward, but in terms the portion control, this will have to be my life I want to start really losing weight.
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
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