One ‘Road to Success’ 

This blog is about one person’s approach to nutrition. Nancy Lear, the former Peer Network Facilitator at BCITS has put together some thoughts, idea and suggestions.

The types of food people like are a very personal preference! This piece is about my battles and triumphs around food choices over the years. I want to say, out-of-the-gate: I am not a nutritional expert. I am sharing some anecdotal experiences I have had with some eating regimes I have tried out over the years … bon appétit!

I, figuratively, threw out Canada’s Food Guide years ago because even it’s guideline for the minimum calorie intake in one day was too much food to eat for me because I had no way of burning off the recommended calories: my exercise level is sedentary.

Then I came across the 1200-calorie food plan (1200 calories is the general number of calories health professionals say women cannot drop below without suffering negative health consequences.) It took me a long time to be comfortable adhering to a 1200-calories per day plan. Now, I am very conscious of the combination of food I eat, building treats into a balanced intake of fruits, vegetables, protein and healthy fats.

Sometimes I overeat, as we all do from time to time. I end up feeling bloated and uncomfortable, occasionally even to the point that my breathing can be affected. As I get older (55+ now) and wiser, I am happy with my choice of ‘good quality versus high quantity’ of foods. This more recent food philosophy has helped me not to revert back to past habits of making unhealthy food decisions.

Here is a concrete example of how I slowly changed a specific habit in my 30s. At the time I very much enjoyed sugar in my tea, but I also began to feel very concerned with my intake of refined sugars. I decided that I ultimately wanted to omit sugar from my tea, a huge decision for me because I thoroughly enjoyed sugar in my tea! The first time around I stopped sugar cold-turkey. I managed to stay strong for a few weeks. However, I always succumbed to the sweet gem, again and again!

Finally, I changed my strategy: I decided to gradually decrease sugar until I could manage and enjoy my tea without it. I went from 1 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. I did this for a month, then I substituted my 1/2 teaspoon of sugar for a drizzle of honey. I stayed with honey for another couple of months. Then I omitted honey altogether and had my tea black. I have never looked back.

At the beginning of the blog I said everyone has to make their own choices but honestly: refined sugar is bad for you. And don’t let the colour of your sugar fool you: brown or pink or white, sugar is still sugar!

This strategy of gradual omission works well for me. It certainly requires an ongoing commitment on my part. Of course, I still have my guilty pleasures but in moderation. I am happy with my choices and being happy with your own personal preferences of food choices is, in my books, the road to success!

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