Food Fears

Food has been on my mind more than usual lately. Dieting inevitably places food on your mind in a number of ways: should I be eating this? How many calories? How much fat? How much salt? Did I get enough fiber today? Enough protein? Am I going to go over my calorie count for the day? I must lose some weight and eat less. I musn’t have more than a piece of that chocolate from the box. I should really exercise today to burn off some of these calories. I am really craving some junk food. I love Ben & Jerry’s. I love cheese. I love pasta. Oh, how I miss pasta terribly…

There he is, all healthy and studly 🙂

And then, probably the most unexpected and earth-shattering news to come to me throughout my life, came: my father had a massive heart attack. For those of you who know my father, he is the epitome of good health and fitness. Even at the age of 51, he is more active than most young adults my own age, including myself. My father moves in almost all my memories of him. A former karate instructor, my father and I donned our white gis every Saturday, and he supervised as I threw forceful punches and roundhouse kicks at the large mirror in our dojo. I used to sit in our freezing cold unfinished basement as a young girl and watch my father lift weights as rock blared in the background, the clatter of weights and the deep grunts from my father’s straining chest punctuating the blast from the stereo. My father hunts every year, and I even joined him on a turkey exploit myself when I was in second grade. In fact, he helped another man younger than himself get out of the woods safely when he was gasping and panting, overworked and overtired; he may have, in fact, helped to save that man’s life. And each spring my father gets out on the boat or down to the water’s edge to fly fish, sometimes putting on his incredibly heavy rubber waders and venturing into sub-50 degree water. I wish I hadn’t missed our special father-daughter outing to North country this past spring.

So, to hear that this strong, smart man had suffered a blow like this one was nothing short of dumbfounding. Not shocking is how quickly he is recovering; this man truly is strong. But, it’s weird and scary to think that one of the culprits here could be none other than our friend: food. Our family does not exactly have the best genetic profile for heart health, and this ugly truth has indeed reared its head even in the face of overall physical health. Prone to high cholesterol and high blood pressure, what’s next? My father will have to drastically change his diet, and it has become clear that, someday, I probably will, too.

We may have cut out high fructose corn syrup, but that may be part of the reason for such high sodium levels in our foods

To conclude: my father will spend the next few months on a journey of steady and strong recovery, but will inevitably be bored out of his mind in spite of the rehab and therapy he will have to conquer. But none of us want to let him make this journey alone. So, for a while at least, I will be posting my own health status as daily-ly as I can (I’m still a busy girl) and attempting to confront head-on the challenges of low fat, cholesterol, and sodium diets. For ease of access, I will include images of my “full nutrition report” from www.sparkpeople.com and my exercise for the day.

My daily report!

It is clear to Jonmark and I that we can no longer eat our sandwiches the way we have been. Next week, I’ll be making lunch meat myself, just like my mother often did for us as children! This will cut back on a lot of sodium intake. And those pepperoncinis I love so much for their spice and flavor? Sorry, little no-calorie additions! You’ve officially lost my interest in such large quantities. Also, I’m not sure why my cottage cheese has so much frickin’ salt in it, but ew. Cholesterol and fat today seem to be good – but maybe for tomorrow I will research the limitations of someone who is on a heart-friendly diet and try to remain within those instead.

I burned 212 calories doing my “Hips, Buns, and Thighs” Hip Hop Abs workout. I also did a LOT of heavy cleaning (moving boxes of Christmas stuff up and down the stairs; washing, hauling, and hanging laundry; sweeping and vacuuming) so I combined it into what I estimate was a total of 30 minutes of this “heavy cleaning” (though it took over 2 hours to accomplish) and logged that into my report for a total of another 159 calories burned. Either way, I rounded out my workout by completing some sun salutations for a nice stretch 🙂 I wonder if we can get my dad to do some yoga!!

Carrying some extra pounds while contemplating an omnivorous diet at the zoo with Michael Pollan 🙂

This picture of me from May is comparable to how I was feeling about a month ago, before my diet had really gotten into full swing. Now, I’m feeling great! And much healthier; it just doesn’t make sense to carry around your baggage, whether it be stress, regret, guilt, or even some extra weight.

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2 thoughts on “Food Fears

  1. I’m so happy that you’re using Sparkpeople.com. I love that site. I’m starting to log my calories again…for the first time in a long time this morning. They’re cracking down hard on inadequacy in the Army, and basically discharging anyone for anything and everything. Daniel is worried about the fact that with his body build and 6’7” height, he’s never made weight for weigh-ins. Not even after basic. He’s just big. He can usually make tape though, which is when they measure them. He’s put on 10 lbs in the last few months, and has said that he wants to lose it while he’s on 30 day leave (which starts on the 13th). I told him “Good, I want to start losing weight too, so we’ll do it together.” It’s hard cooking for him, though because he’s never full after my low calories dinners and that usually leads to late night snacking for him. But thanks for the inspirational blog. I’ve been meaning to start mine back up again. Maybe I’ll do so to track the progress of a tubby tantrum-throwing married couple! 🙂

    • This has been an on-going tough spot for Jonmark and I as well, particularly since he doesn’t really need to lose anything. Typically, Jonmark just eats more than one serving and does okay, but Jonmark is also not Daniel! I can see why it would be tough for him. Maybe a meal that is a bit higher calorie but low fat, like a dish with lots of beans. And also – protein! I noticed that if I don’t start my day with eggs, I end up starving all day. So: egg whites, skinless chicken and turkey, low-fat cheese, 1% milk, whole wheats, Greek yogurt (yummm), and even nuts (not low fat but full of good fats). Be sure he watches his salt intake, too – it could just be water bloat!

      Thanks for reading, Ang! We miss you guys! Good luck 😀

  2. Thank you,honey it’s beautiful to read such praise from your ‘child’. I’m sure I’m not the only parent who wonders what their kids might say about them and what perception they have of you. Whatever strengths and faults I have, it’s more important for me to know that my children understand the depth of my love for them. All encompassing and ever growing. Yes, I too deeply missed our ‘fishing trip’. And, while despairing about it one day, I sat and wrote music, which you may hear at your wedding! I suffer at the miles between us every day, and no, despite everyone’s urging , I will never get over it.
    Hiking in heavy waders, for those who don’t know, is nothing in comparison to hiking several mountain miles with 80 lbs. of gear on your arthritic body, or dragging a mature whitetail the same distance back, once you’ve brought your 80lbs. back to the truck/house and then had to return for the deer! I do it because I love it. It makes me feel connected to our planet , gives me a sense of confidence and accomplishment, and, like you said, I’m too stubborn to allow age or genetics kick my ass! I know myself better each year and in each stage of my life by hunting, and by watching a river flow by my feet, just as my understanding of my love for my family grows with each hour i am away.
    Yes, do what you can to take care of yourselves, readers. I have trained like an Olympian, eaten like a monk and searched for peace whenever i could. Had i not, genetics may have robbed me of my future. One of my martial art teachers used a saying, often, and it is with me always: if you get knocked down 8 times, you get up 9. i know, translating Asian philosophy and language to eastern thought and language can be awkward, but this is simple, primal even. I am already getting up [fighting back] at the realization that I am getting knocked down. Quiiting doesn’t exist. The first thing to come to mind when I realized I was having an m.i. was my family. Quitting was not an option. Sitting on the side of the road and crying was not an option. Giving up on myself now is not an option. Every breath I can breathe is another moment shared with my loved ones. Think about that when you reach for salt or pizza.

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