By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
August 21, 2016
During this past week, I have taken it upon myself actually give some food advice. Yes, the overweight vegan man that has been yo-yoing with his dietary needs is helping other people out, partaking on some knowledge due to life experience that I have accrued from my four year journey. But here is the 411 on what is happening…I’m not really being that technical about it. While most people try to teach you about macros and carb intake versus protein intake, I’m just trying to help some friends clean up their diet a little bit. It is kind of funny this was asked of me, but it was a good thing on my part, mainly because I needed a little help myself. All this past week, it has been potato city. Nope, I’m not doing the 10-Day Potato Challenge again, it was more based out of need due to a lack of bank notes in the depository. So yeah, I have been doing that this week and it was no surprise that I lost five pounds like nothing and felt hungry the whole darn week. Of course, I missed lunch a couple times, so that didn’t help. I mean, I was working on my yard and I got into such a groove that I didn't bother stopping to get some food in my gullet. But on the other hand, I managed to get all of the loose branches out of the way and it only took me four hours to get everything done! Yes, I have a gigantic yard and four hours is a relatively good time. I was ready to call it the day when my father insisted on picking up the mesquite tree pods in the front yard. I begrudgingly accepted, and it was actually kind of nice to get all those things picked up. He figured out a pretty easy way to do…use the air blower. Anyway, my diet has not been good this week, but in the most part, it has been simple and clean…no potato chips so far!
So my friend asked me to help her with her everyday food intake, and I of course just suggested some changes in regards to the type of food she ate and how much alcohol she drank (more on that later). I mostly suggested to eat a lot of veggies and ease up on the dairy and the meat, which was something she was starting to do anyway since some lactose intolerance issues were creeping into the fold. Anyway, I also made some major suggestions in regards to how she eats, for she feels a lot like me much of the time…stressed out and in need of some relief. So this was the first time I ever decided to recommend the cheat meal aspect of eating. What this basically means is this eat well for a few days and then plan for a meal that allows you to indulge a little in something that is a bit different from what you are used to. Like you eat nothing but brown rice and beans for the week and then decide to go to your favorite restaurant and eat some good vegan pizza and maybe some breaded Beyond Chicken on the side. Hmmmm, that sounds really good right now. Anyway, I never really used to believe in the cheat meal aspect of dieting until I did a little research about the subject. Not only can it provide a good calorie bomb that will help give you some extra energy, it also helps relive the stress of changing your dietary life and gives you something to plan for. I’ll admit, I needed it this week. You see, Jon and Christa had a little party for a fantasy football league that I decided to join, even though I haven’t really watched football for nearly two years now. I kind of expected there to be plenty of bad food at the event as well as some beer, so I made sure to stay as healthy as possible up until yesterday. Now fortunately, it wasn’t as unhealthy as I was expecting it to be, which came as a relief. I killed Christa’s bean dip with some good tortilla chips and I also tore into the garlic hummus I brought along with some Bagel Chips from Stacy’s. I did eat some fruit and a PHOD pro-nut with some good cinnamon glaze, but the cheat meal was mostly in the beer I drank. I will admit, by the time I got home, I was pretty happy about eating some different food but on the other hand, I felt pretty weird. You see, when you eat a rather simplistic diet the entire week and then eat hummus and bean dip and alcohol, it can sure make you feel bloated and gassy. Just a little Public Service Announcement for you all. Anyway, I fell asleep and woke up feeling like crap. While I relieved a lot of stress from the week, I was actually quite anxious to kind of get back on a more nutritious path.
Personally, that is what I am hoping for in regards to my friend, for I want to see if I actually have enough gusto and discipline to walk the walk. I sometimes wonder about myself, whether I am just full of nonsense and whether of not I will ever be the well chiseled person I want to be. Hopefully as I get back on track today, I can start walking the walk again and stop being a talker. If anything, the tightening of my budget should make for some good gains in the “Clean Up My Diet” department. I haven’t had any chips or anything dangerously unhealthy for a week now, and that is a good sign for me. We shall see how it rings for me this week, now that I have a few bucks in my pocket and the stress of a new week wears down on me. Trust me, stress is hitting me like crazy these days, for the lack of a job is hitting me in an unusual way…my feet. You see, I cannot afford good running or walking shoes these days, so I have been using the older ones I own…a lot! It doesn’t cause too many issues in regards to my weight lifting, but it is obviously affecting me in my walking (which I walk six miles a day) and my running (which has taken a massive hit). I swear to god, just walking around in some old shoes when I cleaned my yard earlier this week is the reason why my foot is not feeling great and my achilles on my left leg is starting to get aggravated. Throw in the uneven and merciless ground I had to walk on and I can see why my running has been horrible these last couple weeks. Right now, my legs are just dying every time I go running, and it might have something to do with the shoes. So while I do have a job lined up (they don’t let me start until September 12!) I have to survive and hope I don’t seriously injure myself.
Right now, I have to be patient and happy with what I can do. Since my feet are essential to my fitness, I am going to start doing more stretching and functional work at Parsons while easing up on the weight just a little bit. There is no point getting yourself injured while trying to get back on track. I think the other issue for me in this tough time is the weight on my body. I have said it so many times before, but I have to keep saying it…I really have to clean up my damn diet. Right now, my pantry is full of good rice, beans, lentils, steel cut oats and potatoes. I also have some good cous cous and a couple packs of gnocchi. Nothing really horrible but still a lot of starch and other staples that need to be dealt with. I definitely need more greens and fruits, which will be a challenge with my tight budget. But I will find a way if I can. If anything, I have a pretty good start with the subject, keeping a good view of what is decent for me to see, and apparently this is something most should adhere to. Here was a mother little tidbit I told my friend; start eating better looking food and you will start feeling better. Also, if you tend to eat food that doesn’t make you pray for someone to stab a knife in your head due to bloat, then that food will leave a good mark on you. Trust me, this is starting to become my relationship with most beers. I just felt bloated and fat after drinking a few wheat beers from Shocktop, which is a beer I really liked. Perhaps it is time for me to start thinking about giving up the alcohol. That might be something to think about down the line, or maybe put myself on a stricter alcohol regimen. Something will have to be done, mainly because I lost a few hours of potential blogging today because I just didn’t want to move the moment I got home. That was how bloated I was. Plus I wanted to get at least six miles of walking in, regardless of how inflamed my achilles felt at the time.
Fortunately for me, these unique choices in food are not always at my disposal, and I even saw an article kind of talking about the issue of “perception” when it comes to our food. http://www.star-telegram.com/living/health-fitness/article96701072.html While the article is just a little blog type post from a freelancer trying to make a few bucks on trumped up writing (hmmm, wait a sec…), Charles Platkin did bring up a good point. “If we can only see good food in our sight and only have it available, then we will certainly get healthier!” Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Carnegie Mellon University put together a list of some ideas that will help you in regards to eating better. Of course, this was a lot of research I have mentioned in the past, which is what some of the researchers that came up with this composite basically did. Obvious things like removing the bad food from your house and pre-prepping for your basic fruits and vegetables are essential in regards to making them easier to cook and more accessible. Also, much like you would do with a supermarket when “front facing” products, getting the healthier foods out of the gallows and into your visual plane are essential. One thing I wish they had mentioned, which would have been pure awesomeness, was the old study I cited a couple years ago about how being lazy can help your eating habits (in case you forgot, if you are extremely lazy and keep the really bad food at an inaccessible length and good food at an accessible length, then you should be able to lose weight by the fact your laziness makes it too hard for you to get off your rump and go to the fridge. But they forgot the important caveat…you still have to buy the good food. hehe). One suggestion that I thought as kind of good was the fact people need to think more about what they are getting before they go to a restaurant. Apparently, people that are pressed for time and have no real plan on what to eat will most likely choose the heavier, more calorie dense food. Trust me, this is what happened when I went to Watercourse Foods in Denver and ordered the Vegan Cuban Jerk Sandwich or when I went to City, O’ City and ate some really rich seitan wraps and onion rings (though I partially blame my friend Stacey for suggesting those…but hey, no regrets!). So yes, this is a pretty sound piece of advice when it comes to selecting your food. But on the other hand, doesn't this sort of take the fun out of the situation or even the spontaneity? I guess this is why I am overweight!
Hopefully over the next month I can maintain a good regimen with my food, because I really need it. Perhaps my lack of satisfaction with myself has been the fact I have let my stress get the best of me. I also think being a good example will help me as well, for I don’t want to be the guy that goes on a hunger strike while secretly eating food on the side when people aren’t looking. Okay, maybe a bad analogy, but I definitely don’t want to eat a bag of Kettle Chips and then slap myself in the head once again. “I did it again!” If anything, I need to keep my head on straight as I work my way through some problems in my life.
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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
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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.