As anyone who has tried to lose weight at some point or another will tell you, it can be difficult. Trying to balance between eating healthy and getting a good amount of exercise seems easier said than done on paper, but imagine trying to keep that up for months on end. As much as we'd all like to, we can't just shed pounds overnight. Someone once told me that nothing in life is ever going to be handed to you, and the same goes for weight loss.
I myself have been attempting to get myself at around 200 pounds, and it's actually been made easier due to the fact that a few of my friends are interested in slimming down as well. But even so, I've always been a relatively healthy individual, but I've never entered a phases where I was a pure health nut. Ever since I was made fun of in grade school due to my weight I've been calorie counting and researching how to keep a steady weight and diet. And it's been going well fantastically, as I always have second thoughts on food that look like they may be a bit too heart wrenching. However, there's one practice I've been doing for quite some time that has been helping me with my weight, and here's how it started:
So up until a few years ago, I'd eat relatively well. I hear stories of college students quickly getting hefty because, well, once you start living on your own, you get the sudden realization that no one is allowed to tell you whether or not you can have pie for breakfast. But still, I made sure to eat every serving of food groups recommended to be when I first came to Florida Gulf Coast, and just to clarify, I avoid soda like the plague. I treat it practically like hard liquor at this point, only consuming it on the occasional weekend party.
But despite the number of veggies and whole grains I ate, the main problem I was not taking into account was sugar.
And while soda is never a regular at my dinner table, iced tea certainly was. My thought process was, "Well, iced tea isn't soda. And tea IS good for you. So I guess I'll switch to that." And could you imagine what my reaction was when I discovered that my favorite iced tea brands had the same sugar content, if not more than soda?
So I did some research and talked about it among my other health concerned friends, and I discovered that sugars are nothing to scoff (or scarf) at. The American Heart Association states that men should limit themselves to 37.5 grams of added sugars per day, or 150 calories, while women should be consuming no more than 25 grams, or 100 calories.
And it was at this point I was shocked. Do people understand how difficult this sounds? One bottle of my favorite tea was 60 grams of sugar, and at most I'd have at least two a day. I was actively consuming over three days worth of sugar and not even realizing it, for months. And I didn't even want to know if I had been drinking soda instead.
And one look at the nutrition facts on most of the common things people buy tells you just how much added sugar is in practically everything. That goes for energy bars, cereals, yogurt, and even Jif peanut butter, which is the most popular brand of peanut butter out there.
And I'd also like to mention that I do not at all get the amount of exercise doctors will tell you to get. I'm not an active person at all, I'm not willing to admit that. And I figured if I was going to be the type of person who wanted to sit around in front of his computer or television screen all day, I better do a little better with my eating habits.
And while I did accomplish that, I did not expect to cut so much sugar from my diet. I was drinking iced tea strait from the huge bottles designed to share with the family, all because I was looking for a nice replacement to cola. How could I possibly give up a drink I loved so much?
The answer was, I did. Sort of.
I switched to unsweetened iced tea, which, at first, was insanely difficult. But I eventually grew fond of the taste. It's sort of like trying your first beer and your father telling you "It's an acquired taste". It's the same principle, and with some store bought lemons, I made this change a tasty one. I even started brewing my own iced teas with some tea I bought at my local farmer's market, and while it is a bit extra work, I have to say, it's one of the happiest and best decisions I've ever made for my body. And to this day, I still keep my sugar intake under levels of ridiculousness. But ever since Halloween crept up on me, trying to resist the urges of candy corn and pumpkin shaped brownies have been proven uncucessful.
And don't worry, I still drink plenty of water (because that's important too mind you). But Let's just say all my friends know what my drink of choice is now both at home and in a resturant.