Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Final Week: RIP Patrice O'Neal.

In my Week 4 entry, I talked about Patrice O'Neal, one of my favorite comedians, and about how I learned that he'd had a stroke. I also said that I'd learned about Patrice's stroke while eating a disgustingly large and delicious plate of nachos. Patrice was in a coma for a month, until today, when he died.

I have not met any of my health-related goals during this class. I have honestly not put forth much effort. I hope that I have not made excuses for my behavior. I hope that I have only explained it. I know that I am eating better than before, and that I am still moving in the right direction, but I also know that the pace at which I am moving is not enough to keep up with the damage that I'm doing to my body in the meantime.

I have spent most of the last three semesters completely off balance in nearly every aspect of my life, putting our fires instead of preventing them. I feel like I am fending off things that come my way instead of influencing anything. In some small way, I believe that my small victories in adjusting my diet this semester have been significant in the grand scheme of things. The desire to improve is still in me, but I have a difficult time planning in everything, meaning that areas which feel less immediate get pushed to the back. Unfortunately, my diet falls in that "less immediate" category.

This is my last semester with Volunteer State Community College, and over the course of three years I have been required to take three health classes. This is the only semester in which I have made any real progress in my health, even if that progress is minimal. I doubt that any number of classes could fix my behaviors. Between semesters, I hope to have more time to plan and develop routines. I can't make myself any promises. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Week 8: Bring on the veggies.

So, if you go to http://www.choosemyplate.gov/foodgroups/index.html, you can view the recommended amounts of different vegetables on a weekly basis, and even see how those amounts might apply to different types of vegetables per week if you click "How much is needed" over in the area on the right side of the page. I learned that lots of different beans count in the vegetable section.

I really wish that I had learned this earlier, because I love beans. Basically, if there are five different sections of vegetables to eat on a weekly basis, I could have been eating all of one category five days a week and been hitting my vegetable goals.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Week 7: The vast majority of my dinners have been meat-free in the last two weeks.

This does not mean that my vegetable intake has necessarily been adhering to www.choosemyplate.org. Sometimes it simply means that there has been no meat. Take the photo above, for example. Those are stuffed jumbo shells from a veggie recipe on All Recipes. However, the only vegetables in the final dish were mushrooms. Most of the dinners, though, have had tons of vegetables. One dinner was almost all leafy greens in a salad that was delicious.

Now that I have managed to eliminate much of my meat intake and learned to spend more time in the kitchen preparing food that is aligned with my dietary wishes, as opposed to just grabbing whatever and knowing that I'm not eating like a really want to eat, I can start paying better attention to serving sizes and such and planning  to hit My Plate vegetable goals. I expect my next entry will be about working on that. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Week 6: This is hard.

I'm not doing a very good job of this at all. I'm having plenty of difficulty even getting to the grocery store, often in a rush in between taking care of a toddler and a baby, school work, and house work. Finding time to eat is trouble enough without planning when and what.

Getting healthy requires quite a bit of forethought and care, two personality traits that I struggle with.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Week 5: And now it's time for a reality check.

If you are wondering about the progress of my goals, I will direct you to the respective dates on this post and the last one. The class that compels me to maintain this blog and follow a self-directed health goal dictates that I journal at least once a week about my progress.

That hasn't happened.

I'm hoping that this beast of an entry will make up for my previous weakness.

My goal of eating a certain and increasing percentage of my meals according to My Plate guidelines has seemed less attainable with every passing day. My nutrition isn't the only goal that is suffering. The house is a wreck. I'm behind on school work. Spously cuddle time is in the toilet. There are several contributing factors, but I believe the real problem is that during the day I have no handle on anything. The girls are not napping at the same times, and both need a lot of attention when they are awake. Eating well requires a lot of planning, or at least transitioning out of eating garbage to eating well does.

Of course I have also compounded the planning problem with other choices. Last weekend I attended a birthday party and ended up leaving the party with nearly all of a large chocolate cake. This means that for nearly a whole week I ate cake either with or for every single meal. My liquid consumption was similarly poor.

When I excessively poorly for days in a row, I can feel the negative effects almost instantly. I notice myself slowing down from the inside out. I was feeling very sluggish by the time I went to my wellness class last Tuesday night. In class we talked about diabetes, and the teacher said before we had more accurate and easier tests, doctors would taste their patients' urine in order to screen for diabetes. This reminded me of a joke from comedian Patrice O'neal about how he learned that he had diabetes.

After class, I went home and told my wife about the doctor thing. I'd previously told her about the O'neal joke, so she thought that I was messing with her.

The next day, I ordered a massive plate of nachos at a Mexican restaurant. I had already been borderline upset with myself over my gluttony. Just a few days prior, a friend and I had been marveling at our college eating habits, about how we'd viewed cleaning off a huge plate of nachos as badge of honor. It made us feel like we'd defeated the meal. We'd eat long after we'd been satisfied, usually spend the car ride home in pain. My friend and I laughed at how the nachos look so beautiful when it arrives at the table, then becomes so disgusting after about five minutes. It turns into a bowl of greasy beef chicken lettuce cheese beans sour cream and chips soup. Anyone who eats those nachos gets to see what it looks like in their stomach long before they finish eating.

I was scrolling through Facebook on my phone while eating these nachos when I learned that Patrice O'neal had suffered a stroke.

I looked down at the nachos and felt very sad and very worried. I took the photo at the top of this entry so that I could remind myself of the horrible feeling. I decided to find a way to improve my diet that would be more attainable in the short term instead of giving up on my plan altogether. Now I am simply pushing for meeting the My Plate requirements for vegetables. If I can do that, perhaps the other parts will feel more automatic.

Looking at that photo of those half-eaten nachos at the top of this entry, I am upset. I am upset that I'm not eating them right now.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Weekly Charts

Week 1

(Week 1 results are accurate in percentage, but not in days. I changed the start of the week in Week 2.)

Monday, October 3, 2011


( smh @ The Associated Press slapping their thing on this )

For the purpose of my Autumn goal of eating nintey percent of my meals according to federal guidelines, I've done a bit of rounding. I have started with ten percent, and will be increasing by ten percent ever week through Thanksgiving. Ten percent of twenty-one isn't a round number, so I just made:

Week 1: Two meals according to the My Plate graphic
Week 2: Four meals according to the My Plate graphic
Week 3: Six meals according to the My Plate graphic

...after which I will be getting more detailed in my goals, fretting over serving sizes and the colors of vegetables and all that. I'll post more about that as the weeks pass.

Now let's talk about Week 1. It was crap. I barely squeezed in my goal, and even that was only because I realized that I hadn't started the goal week until a Monday, which allowed me to use Sunday to eat my second My Plate meal.

This is the first one:

After the photo was taken, I combined most of this into a sandwich. I ate this meal on Saturday afternoon. I suspect that when I get deeper into serving sizes and such I will find out that I missed the mark by a mile on this one.

Here is the second one:

This was Sunday afternoon. Tuna, mixed veggies and brown rice. Not pictured are the grapes I ate for dessert and the milk I drank.

So Week 1 was successful. For simplicity's sake I am going to move to a Sunday-Saturday week this week, which makes my window for success smaller, but will also make things less confusing in the future.