When David and I first began talking, we were both involved in a popular weight loss group that promoted eating anything you want within a specific target. I had 45 (FORTY-FIVE!!!) years of experience with that group. In 45 years, their “way” had NOT got me to victory over the scale. As we began discussions and research, it became apparent why that method did not work to get me to my goal AND KEEP ME THERE. That program allowed me to eat added sugars. More and more evidence of the addictive nature of added sugar was being uncovered with every minute spent in education and research. As soon as I quit eating it, my weight stabilized. I knew that David had a better way than what I had been doing for many years to no avail. We make every calorie count by eating nutritionally dense foods without added sugar. A daily habit of mine is starting my day with superfoods to fuel my day and satisfy me for hours.
Every morning I fuel up with oats topped with pepitas, sunflower kernels, almonds, walnuts, ground flax seed, Trilogy seed mix (whole flax, chia and hemp), cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, Truvia Brown and sugar-free pancake syrup. I also have eggs and usually an apple. This wholesome, delectable meal keeps me full for hours with stellar nutrition. While others around me are tired and weak from poor food choices early in the day, I’m energized to meet the challenges that life has to offer.
You Are What You Eat
Every time that I have my annual wellness visit with my doctor, he is amazed at my blood work! At the age of 66, I am in the “Negative Risk” category. That means that my biochemistry is so good that it will extend my life beyond the norm. He once looked at me and incredulously asked, “What do you eat?!?” I promptly replied, “Well, I DON’T eat sugar and I make every calorie count for good nutrition.” Year after year, regardless of which doctor I see, their reaction is the same. He even said that he wished he could let me talk to some of his patients! That was such a confirmation that this lifestyle is a miracle worker for me.
The Nutrition of Oats
Most people have heard that oats are “good for you”, but I don’t think most people know what that means. I was astounded to find out that most younger people don’t eat them. I have had to explain to them what is in my bowl if I carry them to work!
Oats have 51 grams of complex carbohydrates, 8 grams of fiber, 5 grams of fat and 13 grams of protein per dry cup for about 300 calories. That is two cups, cooked. I eat half of that because after I add the mix-ins, I have a huge bowl of deliciously dense nutrition. If you are too concerned about the carbs, that’s 43 Net Grams after subtracting the fiber. We HAVE TO HAVE CARBOHYDRATES. Some of the fattest people I know avoid all carbs until they go berserk binge eating everything in sight due to their brains screaming for fuel. I just make sure that the carbs I eat are complex and that alone insures that they are nutritionally dense.
Oats are full of antioxidants which scavenge free radicals from the body. Free radicals cause inflammation and oxidative stress that can lead to diseases including cancer and heart disease. Avenanthramides are a group of antioxidants found almost exclusively in oats. They are believed to help lower blood pressure by increasing nitric oxide in the blood which widens blood vessels and leads to better blood flow. They also help stop itchiness of the skin which is a bonus for many people with sensitive skin.
Oats also contain beta-glucan which is credited for reducing the “bad” cholesterol. It is known to reduce blood sugar and insulin response and increase satiety. That enables me to go hours without getting hungry since my insulin levels remain constant and I feel full. I am NOT diabetic but insulin levels are critical for everyone. If insulin begins to have wide fluctuations, you will get hungry too often and tend to binge eat on junk foods. Oats stop that in it’s tracks for me.
Gotta Get Those ZZZ’s !!!
Along with super nutrition, I make rest a priority, which does not come natural for me. I am a night owl by nature and may be up very late at any given time. If I stay up late, I set my clock for 8 hours later, whenever that is. I DO NOT allow the schedules and opinions of others influence or affect that. People who do not value their own health, much less yours, will try to force you to live on their schedule. Don’t do it. Rest is absolutely essential. David wrote an excellent article Fitness Triad which discusses the three components of a healthy lifestyle, rest being critical.
Commitment to Fitness
I strength train 4 times/week and get 150 minutes of cardio. The strength training enables me to remain strong, flexible and mobile. I work full-time and care for a special needs adult in my home. Strength is mandatory. Strength training, along with excellent nutrition, keeps my bones strong. Being strong and flexible makes me less prone to falls which are the second leading cause of accidental deaths WORLDWIDE. It also builds my self-confidence to a level that you can only understand if you do it. It’s the best self esteem builder I’ve ever found so it also improves my mental health. I never feel helpless. I was raised on Philippians 4:13, “I can do ALL things through Christ which strengthens me.” and was also told that I am capable of doing anything that I want to do. Add the physical strength and well-being that comes from lifting and I usually feel invincible.
I Make My World Small
Although I tended to be a social butterfly earlier in my life, I learned better. If I bring too many people into my life, I will neglect the tenets of good health due to simply not having the time to take care for myself, because people require attention. If I engage with people who don’t care for their health, I may adopt their habits through a process known as Social Contagion . (Click to read my article on this phenomenon) . I gained 45 pounds in a year one time because I had a “friend”… who was trying to fatten me up to be her size. It’s a real thing. Others who demand time and attention and try to break me away from my good health habits simply cannot be a part of my life every day.
Quite often close relatives will try to keep someone from working out because they want your attention. Don’t allow that to happen. As an older woman told me one time, “There are people you have to feed with a long-handled spoon or they will bite you.” You may have to be around them, even love them, but you MUST preserve your good health habits. What they don’t understand is that if you get sick and weak, not only can you not care for yourself, you can’t care for them either. David taught me this and it is a hard truth of life. “Make Your World Small.”
These are my daily habits. I also pray without ceasing. That practice gives me spiritual strength. Good habits can truly make you feel invincible.