The picture above was taken, I believe in 2012, while I was on a mission trip in Haiti. It was after seeing this picture when I returned home that I knew I had to make a change in my diet and lifestyle. Although I have always been active it was obvious by this pic that some changes needed to happen in my life soon or I was going to be a facing a myriad of health issues in my very near future.
Obviously I am slow learner as it has taken me six years to finally reach a point where I know I have a pretty healthy lifestyle and don’t have to start sucking my gut in whenever a camera suddenly appears. I would say from 2012 to 2015 my weight was a constant yo-yo ranging from 210 – 235. During these early days of wanting to make a change, sugar was and still is my biggest struggle to control. I slowly weened myself off adding sugar to my coffee until I was finally able to drink my coffee black. Nowadays I will occasionally add a teaspoon or so and other times I’ll add a dash or 2 of Caramel creamer of some sort.
Coffee with sugar was one of five things that I knew I needed to eliminate from my daily intake. The other four were Sweet Tea, Cereal, Milk and Bread. I’m a pretty typical southern redneck gentlemen. My momma raised me on all four of these staples along with a heavy dose of southern fried everything else! My mom was truly a great cook and it was rare for our family of four to have leftovers growing up.
My special love toward sweet tea was instilled in me at a very young age and was something that I had never really considered not enjoying. But I can honestly say, finally, in 2018 sweet tea is now something I have on the rare occasion when I am out somewhere and just want a change of pace. For the most part, I’ll drink water, wine or the occasional beer. I’m fortunate but I’m not really into soft drinks.
This will be strange to some but one of my biggest food weaknesses is cereal and milk. Along with Oreo’s, it wasn’t until they started putting Servings Per Container on packaging that I realized these weren’t just one offs for eating. I wish I was kidding but as Frosted Flakes, Oreo’s and Keebler Danish Wedding Cookies can attest, I would routinely finish off a box of or carton of these items in one or two sittings at most. I will from time to time still enjoy some Oreo’s but I can’t remember the last time I had a bowl of cereal. Yea me.
I used to drink a ton of milk. Milk with eggs, cereal, cookies, PB&J, or to just quench my thirst. For me nowadays, its mostly Almond Milk. As a treat I will sometimes partake of a PB&J with a tall glass of milk. So it is, that the hardest of these things for me to not ingest as ended up being bread. I LOVE BREAD. Croissant. Sure. Oh, you have bagels, cool. Would you like a roll with your dinner? Just one? – Toast with jelly? you betcha! And growing up we had sandwiches of all kinds. If you name any combination that can be put between two slices of bread chances are I’ve had it!
As I said earlier, it’s taken me six years to get to where I feel really good about the things I eat and drink. At first glance, I know that seems like a long time but consider it this way – it ONLY took me six years to change the habits I had been working on for forty-six. My point in all this is this – in the last three years especially, I have been able to change my attitude about food, and truly purposed to eat better. I have taken the time to learn about nutrition and how foods work together or against each other.
The journey is not easy but I hope this will encourage you to start now, wherever you are, change can begin today. I’ll share a little more in the next post about specific steps my wife and I took beginning this past April to improve our daily eating habits even more. Till then, take care.
Peace and thanks for reading,