I walked almost 10 (almost 20,000 steps) miles total today, maybe a little more. FitBit uses virtual badges as rewards for hitting certain milestones. Today I was awarded the Penguin March badge for 70 lifetime miles (It gave me the message you matched the distance of the March of the Penguins – the annual trip emperor penguins make to their breeding grounds). I have only been walking for 2 weeks so I am averaging over 35 miles per week. I am becoming more fit because I woke up feeling great, even though I wanted to sleep in a bit longer. The great thing about having dogs is they won’t let me sleep in and want a long walk in the morning. Prior to starting this experiment, I would only walk them as far as I absolutely had to. Now, I like to tire them out.
Eating at the Vegetable Bar as part of the Savor Experiment has been a real blessing. It is difficult for me to plan meals, cook them and eat healthy on a regular basis because of how busy I am. Also, it is difficult, if not impossible, to find healthy food here in Ecuador when I am out and about. For my US friends, the diet her consists of most simple carbohydrates like rice and potatoes. Occasionally, there are beans and very small salads, but for the most part, comida tipica (typical food) consists of a meat (usually fried or prepared in sauce), rice or potato. There are plenty of places that sell pizza, chicken and other rice dishes, but before the Vegetable Bar, it was almost impossible to get a salad. My favorite salad at the Vegetable Bar is the Popeye which is spinach, green onions, mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes, grilled sweet onions. I could eat this salad every day – it is that good.
I have been eating oatmeal for breakfast. Normally I would skip breakfast, but as it turns out, based on my research, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Oatmeal has many proven benefits, including lowering cholesterol. It also fills me up so I am not as hungry between meals and less likely to snack. Speaking of snacking, I have all but eliminated snacking and my sugar cravings have subsided a bit.
My water intake is getting better, but I am still not drinking as much as I should. Most nutritionists will agree that drinking enough water is very important to a long-term successful healthy lifestyle, so one of my goals is to focus on drinking at least 64 ounces a day. I have read that the required about of water is ½ your body weight in ounces so I should be drinking 142 ounces a day.
All in all, day 4 was a very good day, especially for walking. My advice to anyone starting a lifestyle modification plan, is to get a FitBit and instead of driving, walk to as many places as you can. Once you start seeing how much you walk, you will want to walk more and more. The think I am learning is there is NO quick fix to changing your lifestyle. Sure, I have lost 9 lbs. relatively quickly, but maintaining this pace is impossible. If you look at becoming healthy as a life-time project, the weight loss number becomes less important. Consider your health. Prior to starting this experiment, I was using a prescription antacid. I had bad heartburn every single day. If I didn’t take the antacid, I would be miserable all day. Now, I am not taking them at all and I have not had heartburn in over a week. It is things like this that matter much more than the weight loss.
On a final note, a friend of mine reminded me that it took most of my adult life to gain the weight. Because of this my body has forgotten what it is like to operate at a healthy level. In order to get healthy again, you have to retrain your body and that isn’t going to happen over night.