How Calorie-Counting Changed My Life

Before January 10, 2011, I considered myself to be a fairly health-conscious individual where food, exercise, and overall well-being was concerned. 

I tried to be smart about food choices (nothing fried, lots of whole grains, and very little sugar), I took my vitamins everyday, and incorporated a bit of exercise, at least, 5-6 days a week. So I felt confident that I was not taking advantage of the temple God gave me.

That said, I also had my weaknesses—cheeseburgers make the very top of that list, with IHOP’s double blueberry pancakes sliding in at a close second—and there were many days where it was tough for me to pass up the opportunity to indulge myself in one or the other. However, at this point, I am finding that enough food alternatives exist that I can even keep those cravings at bay.

Quite frankly, there are more and more days where eating meat is something that doesn’t happen at all. I don’t crave it, don’t want it, and don’t miss it.

So, when I stumbled across an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, on my disgustingly overloaded DVR, where she challenged her staff to go vegan for one week, it intrigued me. The show offered the perspectives of both a full-on vegan in Kathy Freston, as well as that of a “vegan-ish” writer, the great Michael Pollan—who, coincidentally, changed my life with his book “Food Rules“—and I found that I fall squarely into the “ish” category at this point in my life.

While I still, occasionally, indulge myself in a meat-based product, I typically have found that I am perfectly satisfied eating tofu or a black bean burger instead. My new cereal topper is Almond Milk—which in my opinion tastes much better than soy milk—and those meatless soy crumbles you find in the frozen food section can make for one delicious fajita or taco.

Now, let me explain how all this came to be—quickly, of course, as I detest long-winded bloggery.

1. I was looking to drop about 10 pounds—those last 10 can be a stubborn beast. 


2. The best way for me to ditch those ten appeared to be calorie cutting, which meant I needed to be more conscious of the foods I was eating. 


3. Calorie cutting meant finding more foods that could give me a satisfying bite for less caloric buck. 


4. Enter The Hungry Girl who often does that very thing and, voila, more substitutions in my diet. 

That’s the cliffs notes version of a journey that began, roughly, four-weeks ago, and I am down better than ten pounds with a lot more muscle, a great deal more energy, and a more positive outlook on life in general thanks to the incorporation of yoga into my weekly routine.

I won’t say that I’ll never eat another cheeseburger or chicken sandwich again—that Burger King Whopper is certainly a temptation that will strike me again at some point—because that’s not realistic for me. However, I can say that I am a much more food aware person than I was 30 days ago and I like the change this consciousness has brought to my quality of life.

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