The Ottumwa Courier

Columns

March 26, 2012

Lifestyle changes: You are what you eat

Browsing Around

OTTUMWA — You are what you eat. Scary, Isn’t it?

It scares me every day, especially when I start thinking about a pizza. It’s a meal I should smear on my hips because that’s where the pizza will end up.

After scaring myself, then I remember I can have some pizza, but I can’t have it every day. My tastebuds tell me it’s wonderful stuff and I should have some more. They’re right, but I still don’t have to eat the whole pizza.

Now, I’m not on a soap box preaching, and I don’t mean any thing against pizza, a steak dinner or a big bowl of chocolate ice cream. I love these foods and my tastebuds like to cheer me on.

However, those foods don’t agree with me these days. I haven’t had a steak dinner for at least three years. I thought that last steak was going to kill me before I digested it.

I’m older now, and I’ve stopped  thinking I can eat like a younger person, such as a field hand working in a threshing crew.

And I’m not campaigning against red meat, dark meat, white meat, or cheese or rich sauces. Some people need more protein than I do and others maybe don’t need as much.

Another angle to better eating was to change how I fix my food. I haven’t fried anything for a few years now. My food is either steamed or baked. Oh, once in a while I have a fried egg sandwich, but that’s about it.

The dietary changes I’ve made didn’t occur overnight. But within a year or so of eating better, I figured out adding more exercise would help me stay fit and lose weight. I walk regularly, and I’ve decided to start working with a few free weights.

“Diet” is a scary word for most people. After all, it has the word “die” in it, doesn’t it? I’m working with saying, “Oh, it’s one of the lifestyle changes I’m working on.”

I hope all the people making lifestyle changes can keep up the good work. Losing weight, building muscles, enhancing diet and drinking a lot more water takes time to build into your routine.

And I’m no expert. All I know it that my behavioral changes have helped me to feel better, and I’ve lost weight.

Now, just in case you think I’m preaching because I’m perfect, you’ll have to get over that. I do have a demon and its name is “Chocolate.” I love it and it’s tough for me to leave it alone.

I did say goodbye to milk chocolate, and I’ve learned to love dark chocolate, which is better for you. It actually has some medicinal benefits if you eat one square a day.

If you have a tough day and want two squares of chocolate, go ahead and have it. But don’t forget to walk longer and farther! Or put on your favorite music at home and dance to a couple of tunes.

You’ll feel better.

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