Monday, November 2, 2009

You gonna eat that?

John with leftover Halloween candyMaintaining a sensible, healthy diet while attending grad school full-time is harder than doing so while having a full-time job due to two primary limitations: funds and time. And it doesn't help matters when family members send you home with a giant Ziploc bag of bite-size confections after Halloween.

I do not step on the scale every day as I once did. Now I get on every week or two. And each time, I expect bad news -- I remember the pizza I ordered for dinner one night, or that I've been having too much regular soda lately, or that I allow myself an occasional bowl of ice cream to smooth out the stress. And, yet, I have been finding that I am maintaining a steady weight. Granted that weight is naturally 10 pounds greater than my ideal weight, but I've been surprised at its 0% growth.

I attribute this to a few tricks I wanted to share with other people who might be in my circumstance:

1. Walk. I try to jog most mornings, but I think most of my calorie-burning is coming from walking so much -- to campus, from campus, to downtown (but usually not from downtown, since it's usually late enough that I take the shuttle for safety's sake). I want to pretend I'm using my weight bench, but it's a rare day that that happens. I should do better.

Healthy Choice frozen dinner 2. Purchase lean frozen breakfasts and dinners. Occasional pizza indulgences aside, I usually have a frozen meal for dinner, which grossly violates my values both taste-wise and health-wise. But frozen dinners are a great bargain, they're fast, and they can be relatively healthy, or at least low-calorie. Same for breakfast -- I like to have a healthy low-fat egg sandwich of some kind, or a variation thereof, with some fruit or yogurt.

3. Snack wisely. Bags of Halloween candy notwithstanding, I tend not to keep junk food in the house. No Doritos, Oreos or pork rinds around here. Currently, in the realm of snack food, I have snap peas, carrots, prunes, apples, bananas, organic yogurt, Triscuits, Goldfish crackers and laughing cow cheese ... and, in an uncharacteristic purchase, whole grain fig Newtons. Usually the "worst" thing I have is ice cream (I currently lack it), but in sensible portions I don't think ice cream is a big issue.

4. Don't be a stumbling lush. The most I've ever weighed is about 20 pounds more than I weigh now, and I attribute that to being in my mid-20s and having not much to do but drink. Now, of course, I cannot afford (financially or otherwise) to drink heavily often. I tend each night to have at most one cocktail -- maybe a Jim Beam on the rocks, or a glass of white wine, as the evening is wearing down.

5. Remember that thinking burns calories. ... I think.

1 comment:

  1. Yay bite-size confections! I totally nabbed a pillowcase full of them around Pinebrook. I was going to eat many, but heck - I worked hard for those. So yes, many ended up in my fabulously full tummy the past few days. I feel like a total glutton! Next thing you know I was eating pizza, pie.... grrr! So yes, I'm officially back to healthy living now, after my first binge in months. It was yummy while it lasted. Mmmm... Reeses peanut butter cupsss...