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Do I Look Fat in This Blog?

My Virtual Model - before - Health Eating Challenge
Soft ‘n’ Squishy Not-So-Fit
Virtual Jen

So, I mentioned how keen I am to get on board with the Healthy Eating Challenge, right?

Brace yourself, we’re ready to rock!

And, by the way, nuts to those of you who expected me to post a real-life “before” picture! My Virtual Model here will do the job for now.

Besides, there are more motivations to eat healthy food in sensible amounts than a photo could show.

You know, like feeling all perky and fit and firm; and walking uphill without having to call for a tow-truck; and not having your mother try to slip a bottle of vitamins into your coat pocket whenever you drop in to visit her… all that sort of Quality-Of-Life thing.

Moving on…

I had my first chat with a Loblaw’s dietician this morning, picked up a few good food pointers, and I’m ready to head on over to PC.ca to pick out a menu plan for the next 4 weeks.

Feel free to follow along, by the way. The menu plans (and recipes and healthy eating tips) are available for anyone to use, not just us Loblaw’s groupies.

How many calories do I need in a day?

pick a menu planSo, we’re looking at 3 different 4-week menu plans there, for three different calorie-intake levels.

Fortunately, there’s also a little questionnaire form to help you pick the right plan. Enter this info:

  • gender,
  • age,
  • height,
  • weight,
  • activity level, and
  • weight goals.

So far, so good. (And you might as well tell the truth for the first few of those, since no one’s looking. I won’t ask, or tell.)

Activity level?

Yesterday I organized the big basement freezer and mucked out the fridge, in preparation for doing this Challenge — is there a physical activity category for “stupidly exhausting”?

The National Institute of Health gives some helpful examples of moderate physical activity: washing your windows for an hour, say, or walking 2 miles in 30 minutes. (Given that choice, I’ll be going for a walk!)

Okay, now, do I want to gain weight {*snorf*} or lose weight, or maintain?

I know what my waistband is telling me. And that Virtual Mini-Me picture. And — here I go again with the confessions — on the weekend I tried on my dear old black jacket, that faithful old companion of the road adventures of my misspent youth. Ah, memories… But it wouldn’t fasten up!!

Yeah, I think we could use a little trimming down and tightening up on the way to better overall nutrition and health. But let’s get all scientific about this, shall we? and see what story the body mass index (BMI) has to tell.

BMI is a measure of body fat that’s based on height and weight (kg / m2) — but never mind wrestling with the math, just use an online BMI calculator to get the number, then check what range your BMI falls into. Since we’re in such a confessionary mode today, I’ll tell you that my BMI is 25.7 (yes, that’s in the overweight category). See? That’s what a normally semi-fit woman gets from a long hard winter of potato chips and sitting on the couch!

Granted, the BMI index is more of a guideline than a commandment (and sometimes reality makes BMI a joke)… but still, I’d like to kick mine back into the normal range.

Normal is good.
I’ve heard.

1500 Calories, eh?

So I’ll be going for the 1500-calorie Healthy Eating plan. Three meals and three snacks a day? Wow. I’m not even sure I can eat that much…
Health Eating Challenge menu plan selection screenshot

Looking ahead…

The biggest challenge for me is going to be portion control — that, and doing the breakfast thing.

Yes, yes, we know. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The nice Loblaw’s dietician I talked with on the phone this morning says a lot of people have a struggle to make themselves eat breakfast. That’s because we snarf down a big snack at 10:00 at night — yep, guilty as charged! — so we’re not hungry in the morning.

So, that’s one eating habit I’ve got to change — less late-night snacking, more breakfast.

As for the portion sizes, there are a couple of thing going on here. One is that restaurants have been super-sizing our meals for so long now that we’ve lost all sense of how much food we really need.

Also, as usual, it’s the man’s fault.

Live with a man and you’ll get fat — studies prove it! Naturally, men can eat more than women without porking up, so dining with He Who Hogs The Power Tools has led me into the habit of matching what’s on our plates when dishing out the food. Not so good.

So that’s the second major change — reading the package nutrition labels, and getting out the measuring cups, and generally trying to re-learn what a proper healthy portion is supposed to look like.

Next step:
Play with the drop-down selections to finalize my Healthy Eating Challenge menu plan, print out a shopping list, and try to hook up with the local grocery store’s dietician… Wish me luck? There could be a roasted-veggie lasagna involved, if I play my cards right!

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2 comments… add one

  • domestika 2008/04/16, 2:08 pm

    Good luck to you too, Sharon!

    Oh, and here’s a great tip from the dietician that I found very helpful. It seems that plate sizes have been increasing over the years, and actually the ideal size of dinner plate is 23cm. I measured mine, and they’re 27cm across! A larger plate tends to look empty when it has a proper-sized portion of food on it. Simply switching to a smaller plate really makes a world of difference!

    Keep me posted on how you’re doing – and I’m going to be posting more useful tips as I go along and learn more about healthy eating.

  • Good luck with this, Jen. I am working on a similar plan – cutting portion sizes, reducing snacks and increasing exercise – for the same purpose. It may take a bit longer than four weeks, but I’m ready for the challenge.

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