healthy lifestyle

I know this blog is supposed to be about infertility/parenting, but there is a lull in things to write about while we’re waiting on Mike’s next test results. So…I’ve decided to share a little something about myself.

A while ago, I posted that at my first visit with the RE, Dr. R told me that she thought I was too thin and proceeded to act as if I didn’t eat. This bothered me a lot, because I try to maintain a fairly healthy diet. I’ve always struggled with my weight, more mentally than physically, and I’m now at a weight that I am mostly happy with.

I was always very thin when I was a kid, and remained so through junior high. In fact, I remember a time when I could eat ice cream every night – my mom would buy me a carton every week, and I would divide it up for the week. No one, not even my friends, were allowed to touch my ice cream! We didn’t eat very healthy in my household – our “homemade” meals consisted of tuna helper out of a box (really, I used to consider that homemade). TV dinners were common meals for us. My mom would cook for us on the rare occasion, mainly when her boyfriend at the time decided to join us for dinner, which was often in the beginning and then became the rare occasion (which was fine with me, but that’s another story for another day). Most nights were what I like to call “fend for yourself” nights. So my concept of healthy eating was way off – I didn’t know the first thing about how calories, fat, and carbohydrates played a role in my weight.

While my metabolism is pretty good, my body couldn’t keep up with the crap I was feeding myself, and by the time I was 18, I weighed 155 lbs. I suppose in comparison to others with weight problems, 155 lbs is not that bad, but it was a lot for me.

I joined the Navy when I was 19, and bootcamp helped me drop a lot of that weight. After 2 months, I was down to 140 lbs, and I’d replaced a lot of fat with muscle. I felt really good about myself for a while, but after bootcamp, my unhealthy eating habits quickly caught up with me, and I put the weight back on.

I finally decided to do something about my eating habits when I was 20 and I joined Weight Watchers online. Weight Watchers was the best thing I ever did for myself. It not only helped me lose weight, it taught me how to eat healthy. I started discovering how to cook fresh foods, and over the years, have discovered that I love a variety of foods I’d never had growing up – especially bell peppers (yum)! I absolutely love finding new recipes, and have several cookbooks. I’m 24 now and weight about 115 lbs. My husband still doesn’t believe me when I tell him I used to weight 40 lbs more.

Most people look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them that I eat Weight Watcher meals. The truth is, some of the best meals I’ve ever had are Weight Watcher recipes. People look at me and see that I’m thin, and they assume that I can eat anything I want without gaining weight. They ask me why I even bother worrying about my weight. My response is that I don’t “worry” about my weight, I just try to eat healthy.

“Diet” has unfortunately become an evil word for many people. But it’s just a way of life. Everyone has a diet, whether good or bad. The problem is that so many people think that a diet should be short lived, just long enough to drop a few pounds, and then they go back to their old way of eating. Maintaining a healthy diet is hard, and it can take years to fully change your eating habits. One of the hardest obstacles to overcome is to stop eating fast food. It’s readily available, cheap, and “good” (I’ve lost my taste for fast food, but I remember how much I used to love it). But one meal of fast food is generally someones calories for the entire day. I still eat unhealthy foods on occasion, but since my diet consists mostly of fresh, healthy, low-fat foods, it’s okay for me to splurge every once in a while and not feel guilty.

I don’t follow Weight Watchers point system anymore because I’ve adapted the diet to my way of life. I found that I can eat whatever meals I want as long as I replace fatty foods with the low fat versions, and I balance the meal with all the nutrients. One of the biggest things I’ve found helps me maintain my weight is portion control – I rarely go back for seconds. I also do not heap my plate with food. If I feel like going back for more after my first plate, I force myself to sit there for a minute to determine if I’m really still hungry or whether I’m just eating because it tastes good. This has helped me deter myself from seconds several times.

Every week I sit down and plan out the meals for the week. I pull out all my cookbooks and flip through them to find meals that sound good for the week. My husband and I have been doing this for 4 years, so we have about 30 meals we usually rotate through, but I try to incorporate 1 new meal every other week. When I go to the grocery store, I only buy what is on my list. We don’t keep junk food in the house, so for snacks I buy reduced-fat Wheat Thins and low-fat popcorn. I’m sure there are probably many other healthy snacks as well, but these are out favorite.

Mike and I cook together almost every night (we allow about one night eating out per week). I absolutely love cooking with him, and I find that it gives us time to spend together for at least an hour before I go off to blog or do homework, or he goes to play on his computer. We also sit down together at the table to eat instead of eating in front of the TV. This is one thing that I look forward to when we have a son/daughter, the three of us cooking together. I hope for it to become a sort of tradition for our family that our child can pass on to their children, and so on. It’s nice to dream, right?


7 Responses to “healthy lifestyle”

  1. ewokmama Says:

    This is pretty much what we do, too, although I rarely use low-fat versions of anything. It’s all about portions and knowing when to splurge. I try to eat small meals throughout the day so as not to get super hungry (because that is when I tend to overeat). And it’s extremely rare that I go out for fast food.

    With the actual numbers written there, I can see why your doctor was concerned. You are technically a few pounds underweight for your height. You may want to add some extra “healthy fat” into your diet (avocado, for instance) and try to gain 5 lbs. or so.

  2. Holly Says:

    According to BMI calculators, my weight is within the normal standards (I have a BMI of 19). If I were rail thin and had no “meat” on my body, I would be concerned. But this is not the case. As far as the healthy fat, I think I do incorporate that (although not avocado). We cook with olive oil, which is supposed to be good fat, and not all my food is nonfat.

    I’m all for eating healthy, and I’ve actually considered seeing a nutritionist to see if I am on the right path in my eating habits. If my doctor continues to be concerned, I will ask her for a referral. I also need to read up on how to eat while I’m pregnant, because I know babies have different nutritional needs. If I’m not incorporating enough fat into my diet (which I really don’t think is the case), then I’ll stop buying nonfat items and instead get the low-fat.

  3. ewokmama Says:

    I didn’t look at BMI but when I looked at weight-for-height ranges, you were low. Doesn’t necessarily mean you are unhealthy, but it may still affect fertility.

    You will be amazed at how much you will be eating when you are pregnant and breastfeeding. I had a hard time keeping up with the demands of my stomach. I didn’t follow any plans for my meals, but just made sure to get a variety of meat, fruits, veggies, grains, etc. and kept the new food pyramid in mind.

  4. ewokmama Says:

    Oh, and to add to the weight thing – athletes are healthy but because they are lean, they also tend to have fertility issues.

  5. Holly Says:

    I guess the reason I dismissed the weight factor in my case is because I’ve always had issues with my period, even when I was not so thin. And there are plenty of people who are thinner than I am who have no problem with fertility. I guess everyone is different, though. I’m curious to hear what the doctor on Wednesday says, since I’m seeing someone different.

  6. ewokmama Says:

    Maybe it is a further complicating factor? Have you ever gone this long without a period before? My usual is 4-6 months between periods and that has never changed, so it’s my baseline. But if I lost too much weight, it could suspend my mentrual cycle further. It’s definitely worth talk about with your doctor.

  7. Holly Says:

    Honestly, I can’t remember if it’s ever been this long between periods. I was on and off birth control so much that I don’t know what my cycle is ‘usually’ like. I do remember at one point that it was about every 6 months between. But then again, there was a time when it would come every 2 weeks. Every time I get off of birth control, my cycle does something different.

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