Today is “Day Zero.” That is what the doctor said. From this day forward, our lives our different – in a good way. A healthy way. As Kristi slept off some anesthesia in the recovery area, I had some thoughts about our life.
We are wrapped up in a culture of food. Community festivals and events are all about the fried, portable foods that are found there. When we have thought of showing Chicago to visiting friends and family, we have always thought in terms of where we would take them to eat: Chicago hot dogs, Chicago-style pizza, Italian beef, Chi Tung (our favorite Chinese restaurant,) etc. Family gatherings and holidays are surrounded by our grandmas’ recipes, and overeating all the appetizers, entrees, and fattening desserts that define Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and more. Even church events are filled with dinners and sweets with coffee or tea.
Now comes a shift in thinking. The culture of our own family is transforming, so that the food no longer controls or determines the enjoyment of the day. That is not to say that food will be absent. It simply cannot – will not – be the focus.
My wife will no longer be physically able to eat the sweet temptations, filled with added sugar. The reality is, Ben and I need to join her, at least more often than not. Proteins and vegetables/fruits need to be the vast majority of our diet. Period. Is this an easy culture-change? No. But it is the change for the better.
A few thoughts can guide our nutrition from “Day Zero,” forward.
Hydration. Few people really drink the amount of water their bodies need. Adults should be drinking 64 oz. – TWO QUARTS – every day. Some trainers such as Ryan Masters actually teach that you should be drinking an entire gallon daily! First of all, your body needs water to be in its prime condition. In addition, sometimes people eat when their bodies really are simply thirsty.
Slowing down. We eat way to fast. In the car, on the road. Scarfing down in front of the TV. At the kitchen table, but rushing to get to ball practice, band, karate, meetings, or whatever we are cramming into our schedules. In preparing for bariatric surgery, people are taught that we need to be chewing our food about 30 times per bite-full. The fork or spoon should be set down each time. S L O W down.
Balance. Everyone has told you already: we eat way too many fats, and way too many of the wrong carbs. Basically, the South Beach Diet has good advice: if you have carbs, they should be the right kind. Not sugary, white flour-filled things. Not a heap of potatoes or rice. Not even your typical “wheat” breads. Truly whole grain items, fresh fruit, etc. And the fats you eat should be the ones that will contain the “good” cholesterol. Plenty of protein and plenty of fruits and veggies for the typical person. For the bariatric patient, it will mean just focusing on the protein at first. I am sure that Kristi’s blog will go into all the details on that.
Activity. Here is where we have been lacking. In general, we don’t eat poorly. Maybe we haven’t always made the best choices, but we haven’t overeaten either. Still, we don’t move enough. Too much of a pastor’s time is spent sedentary. Writing at a computer. Sitting in on meetings. Sitting in hospital waiting rooms with families, or bringing the Sacrament to a shut-in. Teaching a catechism class or Bible class.
I am one of the rare people that actually enjoys walking on a treadmill. We have one in our basement, which I enjoy using while listening to podcasts on Disney, youth ministry, theology, or wet shaving. The problem is I rarely justify the time. “I don’t have time to do this,” I convince myself. And so there I stay, sedentary. Well, guess what? Today is “Day Zero.” There is much more walking in my future, and some weight training down the road.
Our family events are going to be transformed. What can we DO together, rather than what can we EAT together. Bottom line is the slogan that has been around for a while and has much wisdom: Eat Less and Move More. That’s a good family motto.
Today is “Day Zero” not just for Kristi, but for the entire Heinz family. Want to join us?