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93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
2/13/18 11:30 a.m.

So I am almost 30 and I have realized that I should perhaps take a look at my diet and my health in general. I currently have real health concerns other then bad runners knee and I am decently active (play three seasons of ultimate frisbee a year plus play disc golf with some regularity). I have swung between 210-220 pretty much since the end of my freshman year of college (I am 6'2"). But almost being at 30 and losing a couple relatives over the past year and just feeling myself slow down at playing ultimate as made me start to reevaluate my health choices. I want to be at 190-200lbs for my 30th birthday in October.

As far as exercise, I have added a step tracking app to my phone and I am pushing myself to get in about an extra 2000 steps a day over what I did previously (from 6000-7000 to 8000-9000). I am also trying to add calisthenics every other day and yoga the other day. I am hoping to add a decent amount of biking (particularly mountain biking) in the near future. I will have to see how my knees handle that. Running is pretty much out due to my knees and I hate with an the burning passion of a thousand suns gyms. Anyone have any suggestions on the exercise front? Either exercises, exercise programs, tips, etc.   

For eating, my wife and I eat out probably 2-3 times a week and probably have frozen processed quick meals one more time a week. I end up going out to eat lunch at work 1-2 times a week. We also probably eat to much processed foods. I enjoy cooking but time is a major factor. My wife and I seem to both be home in the evenings like once or twice a week during the week so finding time can be a problem for us. I want to cut our eating out together down to twice a week max. We enjoy going out to eat so I don't want to completely remove that and try to remove frozen processed meals completely. I am going to cut my going out to eat at work down. Also my wife is pretty picky eater. Tracking my calories over the past several days as shown me 1. that I get to much sodium and 2. I don't get enough fruits and veggies. Currently my breakfast is either a breakfast bar (not filling enough) or a "light" microwavable breakfast sandwich. I want to try replace these with smoothies. Anyway I would love advice on smoothies, on healthy low sodium snacks that I can just shove in my desk at work (other then just fruit), on recipes that are good at hiding veggies and recipes that are super super quick to make. Any of tips, tricks or anything would be awesome? 

And finally how do you make changes like these stick and become a habit?

Shawnb
Shawnb New Reader
2/13/18 11:44 a.m.

Swimming, indoor rock climbing. I do both multiple times a week, and have knees that hate running. 

 

Eating healthy is simple, there's no need to over look things. You know what you shouldn't be eating. 

 

People are always looking for that new miracle/fad diet, that's just setting yourself up for failure I believe.

 

Avoid anything processed, portion control, and just eat clean. and stay active. Simple stuff. 

boaty mcfailface
boaty mcfailface UberDork
2/13/18 11:45 a.m.

Pretty much anything goes for smoothies. Avacado and/or spinach can be added to most, and their flavor is so mild that when its all mixed up, you taste everything else but those, so its a good way to add...nutrients or whatever, to the shake. I usually incorporate a banana, a spoonful of peanut butter.  I always had issues with most store bought protien powders getting my stomach all gassy (FWIW this is an issue with ME and my IBD), but I met with nutritionist a few times and she said I should try something with hemp or pea protien, I tried this and it tastes great and sits well with my gut.  Your mileage may vary.  

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M7UU0UO/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1

Other stuff that ive found makes for good filler or adds flavor:  fruit cups, or the fruit/jello cups, graham crackers, cinnamon applesauce, honey. You can pretty much stick anything in there. But not your hootus. 

We always keep a stash of hardboiled eggs in the fridge, and also those little oranges/nectarines.  My breakfast is usually one of each of those and some granola that I keep in my desk at work.  I usually do a smoothie and sandwich for lunch. 

 

It does help if SWMBO is sorta on board, or at least helping you stay on track. Plan your grocery trips to include stuff you'll need. 

 

As far as activities. Any places to hike near you? Fun to get out for a few hours and explore, and its not as hard on your legs as running. 

KyAllroad (Jeremy)
KyAllroad (Jeremy) PowerDork
2/13/18 11:47 a.m.

It doesn't sound like you're doing badly man.  And while you may feel your sodium intake is too high, a healthy young man with functioning kidneys excretes the excess quickly enough.  It would take lab work to tell if you have an actual problem.

At 30 I'd say you should get a thorough physical and talk to your provider about some of these things.  You want incremental changes that will stick, not revolutionary realignments that will get dropped in 6 months.

Take a night class or two at the community college about nutrition, physiology, and maybe exercise.  Having some depth of knowledge on those subjects will help you out a lot more than what I can write here.

Step counting is essentially worthless.  If you aren't getting into the territory of actual exercise then you're just wasting your time.

mtn
mtn MegaDork
2/13/18 11:48 a.m.

Wife is a Dietitian. I've read a bunch on it. Had people in my family die from various things at young ages, and also done an about face on my food intake. 


Eat food, mostly plants. Frozen stuff is almost all bad. Whole foods are better. Less processed the better. In general, nearly completely plant-based is healthier than lacto/ovo vegetarianism is healthier than pescatarianism is healthier than omnivorism is healthier than carnivorism. You're not getting enough fiber, or potassium. 

Send me a PM if you want more details on what my wife says.

RevRico
RevRico UltraDork
2/13/18 11:54 a.m.

Look into a crock pot or better, an electric pressure cooker like an instant pot.

It's all up to you to put healthy things into them, but for as simple and cheap as the programmable options have become, it makes having a home cooked meal extremely easy. 

Dump everything in in the morning and either put it on low or set a timer to kick on mid day, and when everyone gets home dinner is ready. 

 

I was into good healthy habits when I was living out west, and promptly lost them when I moved back to PA, partially from laziness, partially from time constraints, partially because the only "healthy"food store(trader Joes, berkeley whole foods) is an hour away and all the regular grocery stores are just full of processed garbage. I'm starting to look into meal planning and prep. Spend one day a week pre cooking and getting meals ready, then just pull them out and cook or reheat as needed. 

The biggest helps for me diet wise was cutting out soda and koolaid and putting a 20 cup water filter pitcher in the fridge. I drain it twice a day, almost every day. I also quit using a microwave all together. Food tastes better, even leftovers, cooked in the convection oven or the regular oven. I know time can be a problem, but for me the taste is worth it. 

pres589
pres589 PowerDork
2/13/18 12:01 p.m.

Nuts can be a good snack but watch out for sodium.  Lately I've been grabbing a can of Planter's Heart Healthy Mix so I get a vareity and they're not too salty.   If you know where to look online it's not too expensive.  Sometimes fruits for breakfast is nice; an apple and a banana, for instance.  

Not eating a few hours before bed can really help so you're not "sleeping off" calories.  You didn't mention alcohol which is where calories love to hide plus the various aspects of alcohol itself on metabolism and quality of sleep.  This department is one of my personal challenges.  

I second the suggestion of swimming.  I just restarted swimming after a long hiatus and I've really missed it.  I don't like running either and this is great stuff.  Bicycling can also be great; I find it easier on my back and joints, but I know that it's not the easiest thing to do for some people.  

I try to have a routine where Sunday I'm making something to eat for most to all of the week for lunches.   Crock pot, maybe bake bread, that sort of thing.  Chili, curries, soups.  It's easier to do substitutions with soups and such, I find, like using tofu instead of meat.

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane Dork
2/13/18 12:01 p.m.

I'll leave the activities part to others and only comment on the food/eating-out part.  It's a not an immediate change, though.  It's the kind that changes your relationship with food and cooking for yourself.  I'd recommend a subscription to cooks illustrated. 

I subscribed to the magazine for my wife a few years ago as a gift, and the quality of our cooking has drastically improved over what it was 5 years ago.  They handle recipes in a scientific and easy to consistently reproduce manner and have good (impartial!) equipment reviews.  Cooking is a lot more fun when you know you're going to have a good outcome :)

I will warn you that learning to cook better/faster will naturally lend itself to not enjoying restaurant food quite as much.  We used to love going out to a lot of restaurants, but for the past few years we've mostly been left with the feeling that we were getting slightly ripped off for some reheated pasta and Cisco sauce.  We know that we can cook better/tastier food at home, and our total time investment is less than when we go out.    We still go out, but the quality of the restaurant has gone up, so it becomes more a treat than a reliance. 

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
2/13/18 12:06 p.m.
mtn said:

Wife is a Dietitian. I've read a bunch on it. Had people in my family die from various things at young ages, and also done an about face on my food intake. 


Eat food, mostly plants. Frozen stuff is almost all bad. Whole foods are better. Less processed the better. In general, nearly completely plant-based is healthier than lacto/ovo vegetarianism is healthier than pescatarianism is healthier than omnivorism is healthier than carnivorism. You're not getting enough fiber, or potassium.

To be fair, neither of my family members died due to problems cause by eating but it still makes you re-examine your choices especially when one was younger. I am nearer the carnivorism then I'd like to admit. This is largely due to struggling to get my wife to eat plants.

KyAllroad (Jeremy) said:

It doesn't sound like you're doing badly man.  And while you may feel your sodium intake is too high, a healthy young man with functioning kidneys excretes the excess quickly enough.  It would take lab work to tell if you have an actual problem.

At 30 I'd say you should get a thorough physical and talk to your provider about some of these things.  You want incremental changes that will stick, not revolutionary realignments that will get dropped in 6 months.

I mean I kind of figure I am not doing badly but I could do better and I figure the better I do the less likely I am to have major health problems later. I figure I will kind of work in a bit of change at a time. Right now I am trying to make doing daily exercise and tracking my calories routine. I hit 235 at one point about a year after college and I started tracking my calories and I was able to drop down to 205lbs. I stopped tracking my calories after I got a new phone and I didn't re-download the app. After those things, become habit I will try to change my eating habits. Cause I think you are about complete changes being hard to keep up with.

boaty mcfailface said:

Pretty much anything goes for smoothies. Avacado and/or spinach can be added to most, and their flavor is so mild that when its all mixed up, you taste everything else but those, so its a good way to add...nutrients or whatever, to the shake. I usually incorporate a banana, a spoonful of peanut butter.  I always had issues with most store bought protien powders getting my stomach all gassy (FWIW this is an issue with ME and my IBD), but I met with nutritionist a few times and she said I should try something with hemp or pea protien, I tried this and it tastes great and sits well with my gut.  Your mileage may vary.  

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M7UU0UO/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1

Other stuff that ive found makes for good filler or adds flavor:  fruit cups, or the fruit/jello cups, graham crackers, cinnamon applesauce, honey. You can pretty much stick anything in there. But not your hootus

It does help if SWMBO is sorta on board, or at least helping you stay on track. Plan your grocery trips to include stuff you'll need. 

As far as activities. Any places to hike near you? Fun to get out for a few hours and explore, and its not as hard on your legs as running.

Thanks for the suggestions on smoothies. Do I need to add protein powder? 

I have hiking trails about a half mile walk from my house and we hike usually any weekend it is nice enough to.

BoxheadCougarTim
BoxheadCougarTim MegaDork
2/13/18 12:07 p.m.

Re the cycling - I have bad knees (arthritis) and the orthopedic surgeon who did the last checkup on the knees actually did recommend cycling as a way to build/maintain leg muscles and being much easier on the knees.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
2/13/18 12:14 p.m.

In reply to BoxheadCougarTim :

It works well for that.. I have a bad knee and my constant diet of spinning classes really helped it become strong..  too bad I fell off the wagon.. ugh.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
2/13/18 12:16 p.m.
pres589 said:

Nuts can be a good snack but watch out for sodium.  Lately I've been grabbing a can of Planter's Heart Healthy Mix so I get a vareity and they're not too salty.   If you know where to look online it's not too expensive.  Sometimes fruits for breakfast is nice; an apple and a banana, for instance.  

Not eating a few hours before bed can really help so you're not "sleeping off" calories.  You didn't mention alcohol which is where calories love to hide plus the various aspects of alcohol itself on metabolism and quality of sleep.  This department is one of my personal challenges.  

I second the suggestion of swimming.  I just restarted swimming after a long hiatus and I've really missed it.  I don't like running either and this is great stuff.  Bicycling can also be great; I find it easier on my back and joints, but I know that it's not the easiest thing to do for some people.  

I try to have a routine where Sunday I'm making something to eat for most to all of the week for lunches.   Crock pot, maybe bake bread, that sort of thing.  Chili, curries, soups.  It's easier to do substitutions with soups and such, I find, like using tofu instead of meat.

Thanks for the suggestions on the nuts. I generally eat at 6 and don't eat after that. As far as alcohol, I do enjoy a good craft beer or whiskey every now and then probably 2-3 times a week. So I guess I could drop that but I don't really want to. haha. I have never had a massive love of swimming to be honest. I have a state park about a mile and half away with some great biking trails so I am going to try to hit those every now and then and also bike to downtown sometimes. 

I like to try to cook a few meals on Sunday but Winter League Ultimate is on Sunday and after a game I am usually like screw it I don't feel like doing crap.

RevRico said:

Look into a crock pot or better, an electric pressure cooker like an instant pot.

It's all up to you to put healthy things into them, but for as simple and cheap as the programmable options have become, it makes having a home cooked meal extremely easy. 

Dump everything in in the morning and either put it on low or set a timer to kick on mid day, and when everyone gets home dinner is ready.

The biggest helps for me diet wise was cutting out soda and koolaid and putting a 20 cup water filter pitcher in the fridge. I drain it twice a day, almost every day. I also quit using a microwave all together. Food tastes better, even leftovers, cooked in the convection oven or the regular oven. I know time can be a problem, but for me the taste is worth it. 

I need to get a crock-pot with a timer. I have a bit of a love hate relationship with the crockpot. Somethings I try come out great somethings come out like crap. The biggest problem I have though is a hate hate soggy veggies so I won't cook anything with a lot of veggies in a crockpot. 

As far as sodas, I have maybe 2 a week and maybe 1 or 2 sports drinks a week. The rest is seltzer water, hot tea, water or juice. I don't really have an option at work other then the microwave.

wlkelley3
wlkelley3 UltraDork
2/13/18 12:17 p.m.

Agree with the step counting statement, not worth it as it is incremental and not constant. I also have bad knees, recumbent stationary bicycle is easy on the knees. Have one at home and can watch TV when riding. I usually go to the gym though with my wife, one of the very rare things we do together. As for eating, I lost 30 pounds on a modified Atkins. Basically a diabetic diet. I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic, diet controlled now. Reduced sugar and carbs. Still try to stay close to it but splurge once in a while. Breakfast at work - oatmeal. Microwave at work will heat the water. I use an old coffee cup instead of a bowl. Will admit plain oatmeal is tasteless. I mix 1 packet of plain with 1 packet of favorite flavor to keep sugar down and have flavor. Go out for lunch - salad. I prefer one with meat in it, chef salad. Go out for dinner - lean meats like chicken, some fish and a quality steak. Portion control is mandatory, don't overeat just cause it's there. Don't feel bad about throwing food away or doggie bag. At first you will be hungry but once your body adapts that will go away. Don't skip meals, 3 meals a day in proper quantity. Can't stress importance of portion control. Don't eat till you're full. Stop way before that. Going out to eat doesn't help with the salt intake though as that is the most common seasoning restaurants use. We reduced salt intake at home, I have high blood pressure too. Go out to eat and we taste the salt. More fruit/veggies will help but I have to watch that as a lot of that has a lot of carbs and/or sugar. Green beans are freebies, only count what it was cooked in. I'll be twice your age in September.

RevRico
RevRico UltraDork
2/13/18 12:19 p.m.

Not to thread Jack, but I have a question related to getting healthier. 

Is general consensus still that probiotics are bullE36 M3? (The pills /drink supplements that "contain a billion bacteria")

I searched and found a learn me about them from 5 years ago where everyone seemed to think they were, but thought I'd ask again since we're in the healthier topic. 

pres589
pres589 PowerDork
2/13/18 12:23 p.m.

Veggie snack that I've done sometimes is bell pepper slices.  Have to keep them cool, though. 

Robbie
Robbie PowerDork
2/13/18 12:28 p.m.

In reply to RevRico :

I don't think yoghurt is BS. But if you really need to get your gut (im talking digestion, not beer belly size) under control nothing beats eating a ton fiber (as found in vegetables).

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair UltimaDork
2/13/18 12:33 p.m.

Cycling is great for knees as long as you keep your crank speed up, above 90 rpm for sure but really "as fast as you can pedal without bouncing on the saddle" is a good goal.

shop the perimeter of the grocery store, that's where the natural / fresh stuff is.

Here's the basis of my favorite smoothie recipe.   It's more like a drinkable salad but I usually skip the juice and eat it with a spoon:

1 cucumber
1 bunch parsley
1 lemon
2 avocados
3 stalks celery
1 cup juice
4 cups red leaf lettuce or spring mix
1/4-head red cabbage

I love red cabbage.  I put it on sandwiches instead of lettuce.  I use it to replace 50% of lettuce in salads.

my breakfast is typically eaten at my desk.  A banana, a bottle of drinkable yogurt, a package of salted mixed nuts (from Costco, not from the vending machine), a cup of coffee.  On days I cook for my kids, I make fresh hash browns with a sweet potato and a russet potato, plus some onion for flavor.  Cooked in butter in a frying pan.  Salt to taste.  berkeleying delicious.

Robbie
Robbie PowerDork
2/13/18 12:33 p.m.

For me, I think the hidden sugars and the alcohol and the portions are what kill my diet. I really subscribe to the "sugar is worse than tobacco" camp. Not that it has a huge effect on my eating habits; I do love me some doughnut.

Really the parallels between the sugar industry and the tobacco industry are hard to ignore.

And I also think if you want to be more fit, work out. If you want to lose weight, change your diet.

My wife has just signed up for weight watchers, and she wants me to do the same. Soooo, I'll probably be doing that.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair UltimaDork
2/13/18 12:37 p.m.

I keep a container of Quaker old-fashioned oats at my desk, and a small Tupperware with a mix of cinnamon and brown sugar to make the oatmeal tolerable.  I make it with hot water from the coffee machine, but the microwave will certainly work.  It's an easy fiber hit.

RossD
RossD MegaDork
2/13/18 12:38 p.m.

This is what helped me. Sugar 101.

I watch my sugar intake so that I can have desserts. The Sugar 101 link says 36 grams of added sugar for an adult male.  It's my opinion that if you start blendering food you're getting closer to processed foods. The body needs to do the work that the blender is doing to make the process healthier.  Since the body doesn't have to break down the fiber of the fruit you threw into the blender, it changes how you digest it.

Your blender is literally doing the work your body should be doing.

I still eat desserts but know I recognize when I'm eating sugar so that I can eat pie instead of 1/2 cup of baked beans giving me 12 grams of sugar. Dessert Yogurt is another pet peeve of mine. Straight yogurt with some fresh fruit. Maybe a pinch of sugar (1/2 teaspoon is about 2 grams) is still way better than a Yoplait Original Strawberry with 18 grams of sugar. Let me convert that into percentage based on the recommended amounts by the American Heart Association: 50% of your daily limit for an adult male.  75% if you're an adult female. I wonder what that would be for a toddler?

Fruit juice is as useless as Soda. Here is the article from the American Academy of Pediatrics and where they stand with  Fruit Juice.

Frankly, I think they are dancing around from actually saying that fruit juice is totally worthless due to pressures from juice manufacturers, but that's just me.

We also try to eat fresh or frozen veggies. I recently decided that canned veggies are gross. Rice is the top choice for filler food. Then noodles which aren't really great for you, then baked sweet potatoes.

Keep meat portions under 4 ounces. Fill up on veggies and filler.

Water, tea, coffee, milk, and the occasional potent potable for wetting the palate.

Sorry for the rant. I've lost 25-30 lbs after coming to terms with sugar and my diet. My cholesterol is doing better too; I assume it's related.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
2/13/18 12:42 p.m.
AngryCorvair said:

Cycling is great for knees as long as you keep your crank speed up, above 90 rpm for sure but really "as fast as you can pedal without bouncing on the saddle" is a good goal.

shop the perimeter of the grocery store, that's where the natural / fresh stuff is.

Here's the basis of my favorite smoothie recipe.   It's more like a drinkable salad but I usually skip the juice and eat it with a spoon:

1 cucumber
1 bunch parsley
1 lemon
2 avocados
3 stalks celery
1 cup juice
4 cups red leaf lettuce or spring mix
1/4-head red cabbage

That sounds like a tasty smoothie. I will probably give that a try. 

Robbie said:

For me, I think the hidden sugars and the alcohol and the portions are what kill my diet. I really subscribe to the "sugar is worse than tobacco" camp. Not that it has a huge effect on my eating habits; I do love me some doughnut.

I'd say my number one, two and three problems are portion sizes and then sugar. I love me some dark chocolate. Also I have a cup of hot tea every afternoon with a lump of sugar and milk but I have been doing that since I was probably 8 (my dad is British) and that is one thing (with the occasionally craft beer) that I won't give up. 

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
2/13/18 12:44 p.m.

drink more water.. 1 gal a day is minimum for me.  Even though I have this stuff litterally comign out of taps in my house, I buy gallon containers and make it a goal to chug one per day.   I have a gallon container at work that I refill at the tap and drink each day.  I'm trying to get up to 1.5 gallons.

 

 

Robbie
Robbie PowerDork
2/13/18 12:55 p.m.
AngryCorvair said:

I keep a container of Quaker old-fashioned oats at my desk, and a small Tupperware with a mix of cinnamon and brown sugar to make the oatmeal tolerable.  I make it with hot water from the coffee machine, but the microwave will certainly work.  It's an easy fiber hit.

I do the same except I keep crunchy peanut butter and a bad of dried cranberries. I love my cran-peanut oatmeal.

MazdaFace
MazdaFace HalfDork
2/13/18 12:58 p.m.

Cycling. Cycling cycling cycling. Contrary to what most bike shops will tell you, you don't need to spend 2k to get something nice enough to ride around on. I wouldn't recommend the walmart route either but 500-600 range is usually good reliable enough. then get yourself a nashbar trainer and start doing the GCN videos on youtube. problem solved. 

pres589
pres589 PowerDork
2/13/18 1:01 p.m.

I believe the one fruit juice that hasn't been roundly dismissed by modern dietitians has been tomato juice.  The problem with that one is how most of the time it's heavily salted.

Best way to get your fruit is to eat it, not drink it, basically.  

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