By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training, Tucson, Arizona
September 17, 2015
Ever since I started my health and fitness journey May 6, 2012, looking back always kind of makes me sad. I was pretty unhealthy for such a long time, and my eyes have been opened by the ignorance I displayed in those days. I’ve come to the realization a long time ago that I was a full blown food addict, for I never really did anything for health, but rather did everything for pleasure and enjoyment. In the aftermath of that realization, I have struggled a great deal with the downsides of having these addictive tendencies in the back of my head. While I have managed to cultivate them for some good, such as focusing on my working out and running, every now and then they just hit me like a ton of bricks falling from a multi-story building. I’ll admit, I will still devour a small tub of hummus with Stacy’s Pita chips. I will still devour a can of Pik-Nik Sticks. Red Vines still scream at me, and I create this situation because I still occasionally walk past the candy aisle at my store! I always find it bizarre how I have managed to kick my soda habit yet still have some issues with snack foods like this. Maybe it was because of the pure enjoyment of eating snack foods, because it is hard as hell to make a dent in the issue for me. Now more than ever, I am kind of glad I don’t partake too often in the snacking life, because it is getting cooler than ever to be a part of the in-crowd! I recently found out my old haunt, Taco Bell, has a full-on merchandising site! I couldn’t believe it! Considering the amount of money I used to spend on that “restaurant,” I was kind of bummed out that they didn’t have this stuff sooner (I still might get the beanie, since I do love beanies!), but then again my large and overweight body might have been a better indicator of my love for Taco Bell at the time. I find it especially strange on the Taco Bell merchandising site that the size chart for their clothing only goes up to 2X. That’s pretty bizarre to me, especially since I have only been able to wear a 2X shirt for a couple years now, a far cry from my 4X days. But then again, apparently the primary focus group for Taco Bell are hipsters and late night partiers. Who would have guessed? Unlike McDonalds and Burger King, those restaurants mostly focused on people that needed their fix and were most likely food addicts like myself, Taco Bell’s clientele are considered somewhat healthy. But then again, most people probably go to get a chance at winning the $500 they promise every week if you fill out a survey. Yes, Taco Bell offers a weekly drawing to win money. At least it is a unique promotion.
Yes, this is one of those reflective type of blog posts I do from time to time, mainly because I made a mistake or something. I’ll admit, I went to Taco Bell, which is why I am talking about it so incessantly. I chowed down on some cheese-less bean burritos, which are vegan friendly just in case you need to know. Now I will admit, it wasn’t about the bean burritos. Considering I eat burritos all the time, forgoing the process of making my own good concoction for Taco Bell wasn’t in the front of my mind. I went for the Fire Sauce packets. I will not lie about this, but I had a real hunkering for something different on my pita chips, and started thinking about the fire sauce packets. So I went to the Taco Bell near my house and ordered a few bean burritos. I made sure no one was looking, but I literally emptied out the little holder that had all the fire sauce packets. I had more fire sauce in my bag than actual food. Now I will admit, the Taco Bell burritos were quite mediocre and perfect drunk food, but I was in high heaven when I had the packets. They literally took over my silverware drawer! Try adding them to the Stacy’s Garlic Bagel Chips and you will have a superb snack on your hands! Now it is a tired subject, but being aware of self destructive addiction is always a good step in regards to recovery and healing. Even though I went Taco Bell, I didn’t really feel ashamed about it. Yeah, it was a slip, but hey, one cannot be perfect all of the time. I’m sure the Taco Bell corporation will love the fact that people like me are poaching their precious product for something other than their “food.” But I got to admit, those fire packets took me back to a different time in my life, back in the late 90s when I was somewhat fit and healthy. I would get a couple tacos and put about four or five fire sauce packets into the flour tortilla concoction. But like all addictions, I started adding more tacos to the deal, until 10 years later I was eating the 12-taco packs by myself with other specialty items tacked along the side. Admittedly, I still have some urges to get back into my old fast food habit. When I initially went vegan, I did it for a lot of reasons; for my health, for the environment and to end the suffering for at least a few animals. Now I look at it this way….it keeps me from being a voracious eating machine. In fact, I have conditioned myself so well that I don’t even get that excited about new developments in fast food, like Taco Bell wanting to bring back the Chicken Caesar burrito (which I would eat two or three at a time) or McDonald’s thinking about selling all day breakfast (which sadly might save that awful company). It’s pretty odd that a particular way of living is keeping me from becoming a raging eating machine like I was in the old days. In fact, I am so cautious that I often times reject most types of beer to refrain from the possibility of drinking honey (which I also failed at that this week when I drank a berry based shandy that inexplicably had honey….go ahead and judge! Gotta read the label folks!)
I saw a good article this past week I can really get behind, even though I don’t have kids and probably never will at the rate I am going. http://limaohio.com/news/150807/dietitians-let-children-help-pack-lunches Now, a lot of kids have bad eating habits in this country mainly because they are not exposed to food that is good for them at an early enough stage. There is always going to be the kids who exchange their healthy food to the “weird” kids for their bad food like Doritos and such. But of course, this doesn’t exist much anymore since kids seem to have their own disposable income and vending machines are still available in a lot of schools. Anyway, the article creates the interesting idea of letting your kids have a hand in making their pack lunches. The psychology of the situation is based on some good ideas, that if we give the kids a say in what they eat, it might lead to some better choices. While the naysayers will say “The kids will just ask for soda and chips,” there are some other angles one might be able to come into play. Bargaining and negotiation could play a part in the process, which could be a good tool to learn at a young age (rather than always demanding what they want). Now I would know nothing about this sort of thing, mainly because I always ate the school lunches that were provided for me at school. Granted, I became addicted to syrup soaked fruit cocktails and chimichangas (or fried burritos in some parts of the country), but I didn’t really develop my bad eating habits until college. There is a funny video series on Youtube that always get me going call “Kids React.” It’s hilarious, seeing these kids react to typewriters, walkmans and even cartoons I watched when I was a kid like Ducktales (one girl was really hilarious, saying she thought cartoons in 80s were in black and white!). Recently, they included a collection of videos where kids try foods they are not accustomed to like Vegemite, wheatgrass and cow tongue. It’s pretty clear most of the kids are pretty sheltered from food choices, but I was somewhat thankful when at least one of them knew what tofu was (and admitted to liking it before he tried it!).
This past week alone was also quite an adventure in excess for me. In addition to going to Taco Bell (which I am sure I will pay for it later on my waistline), I also ate at Chipotle for the first time in a long time. I don’t go as much as I used to, especially since I mentioned before I seem to eat just about everything in burrito form. And to top it off, I actually ate a pizza this past week. It was nearly two months since my last one, which has to be a record for me because I used to eat pizza every couple weeks when my taste buds finally started accepting the idea of vegan pizza. So what the heck happened? Personally I really don’t know why I went off the deep end so many times this past week, for maybe it is the fact I just wanted to treat myself a little. I remember one time I wrote about how cheat meals really aren’t that beneficial to you, but I have slowly changed my view on that mentality. I think I really needed to get out to the house and taste some of the wares that Tucson has to offer rather than the typical fare I have been making for myself as of late. Now some might not consider these transgressions of mine as cheat meals since I stuck to my diet and didn’t eat until I was in a coma, but I have to kind of keep that mentality for them or else I will go back to some of my issues in 2014 where I became way too content with everything I did. Being happy with what I have is great, but when you still have some steps to take, I really want to fulfill my goals.
Now that the heat is finally subsiding a little, I can now start putting a dent into my goals a bit. While I feel I might not make my 230-pound goal by November 6, I’m gonna try to get as close as I can! Right now, I am still stuck on 245 pounds, which is good since I have managed to maintain, but I’m trying to lose some weight! Okay, maybe I am getting a little too fired up about weight once again. I mean, my favorite size 36 pants are fitting better than ever on me. In fact, I never would have guessed size 36, straight cut jeans would ever look so loose or relaxed on me. I got to tell you, it is a freaking miracle! Maybe it is all of the squats and various leg exercises or maybe it is just the fact my body wants to trim my leg fat first (as opposed to my belly and chest fat). In the end, the fact I can pull stuff out of my front pockets without having to push back some fat is a good sign for me. And yes, I do understand that pants can expand due to usage, but you have to remember I have not really been out of the house for at least two months, so I have not been going out or using my good jeans at all during this time. So in effect, the results arrested coming even though the weight is remaining stagnant. Eventually I’m going to start trying out some of these fad diets that seem to lean many people out. But on the other hand, I won’t do any of that until after Ragnar Las Vegas, which we finally have a confirmed and full team (which we hope doesn’t change until then!). Maybe that's why I ate so much this past week. Not stressing out about the race made me want to get back out into the world again. Naw, I’ll just consider this another week of weakness for me. But the good thing about a little slip is you can always get back up.
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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.