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Exylem

Battle against Junk Food

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Hey everyone! First challenger here, so let's see how this goes!

 

I have a huge addiction to junk food. I love hamburguers, pizza, french fries and chocolate. I struggle a lot to avoid eating these things, and this isn't just bad for me, but for my wallet too (i spend way too much money on these things).

 

So, to keep it short and simple, and to follow what Hazard suggested, here are my objectives on this challenge:

 

The Big Objective

Long story short: I want to be healthier.

 

Explanation: I'm ok with my body. Tt could use some improvements here and there, and i'll be happy if i lose some weight, but if i stay where i am in terms of appearence, i'm happy. However, many of my uncles and cousins suffer from diabetes (fortunately, not my father and mother), so it's something that runs in the family, so it is important for me to stay alert about my health. I also think i should reduce my blood sugar a bit (considering my last exam - it is still under the "normal" category, but only 2 points below altered levels). So, yadda-yadda: Appearance-wise, i want to lose weight or stay where I am, but i don't want to gain weight because i'm not far from an altered weight state. Health wise, i want to be healthier to avoid problems further down the life road.

 

And how i'll use these weeks to try to create some habits to reach the objective?

 

1- Reduce the amount of Junk Food

How: I can only order pizza/hamburguers/etc. on weekends

 

Explanation: I get a HUGE crave for junk food almost all days of the week. Today, for example, i'm not having such a great day, and i'm already hearing those "whispers" in my ear: "Hey, you should order something, you are not ok...", "You can continue to be healthy tomorrow..." and this kind of stuff. So, no, i need to train myself to avoid this. Therefore, I'll only order junk food on weekends. Ideally, i'll only do it on Saturday, but, for now, i won't be harsh on myself if i end up falling into temptation on Sunday. Once I sucessfully acquire the habit of avoiding these during weekdays, i'll change it to something harder.

 

2- Keep going to the gym

How: Go boxing at least 3 times a week

 

Explanation: After a two month hiatus because of a surgery (nothing major, but i couldn't punch or lift heavy things with my left arm), i just returned to boxing. I don't dislike it when i'm in the gym (like i do hate bodybuilding and other types of activity), so it is the closest i have of an "enjoyable" exercise. I want to go there at least 3 times a week (that would be 3 hours). Normally, i want to do it Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but, if i miss a day (like i did today - it was raining heavily and I don't have a car to go to the gym - it's a 15 minute walk), i need to compensate it on another day (and i won't miss it just because of laziness).

 

3- Read more

How: I need to read (for fun) at least once a day, regardless of number of pages

 

Explanation: I love computers and games, but i believe it will be healthy for me to don't be dependant on these machines to have fun, like i have been dependant for the last years. I even lost the pleasure of reading: Once i was a teen, reading was great, i read long books in a matter of days. Nowadays, it is a chore - with so much to do on my PC and cellphone, it's hard to find time to read. This is further complicated by the fact I work with texts: I'm finishing my Master's Degree, so reading and writing about the theme of my research is something i need to do everyday. As much as i like my job, it is still a job. So, i have to read at least a bit everyday about something non-related to my research. I have started reading the first book of The Witcher series, and i have a book of Edgar Allan Poe ready - i just need to read a bit of one of those everyday!

 

Extra: Learn German

How: I need to study German at least 15 minutes a day.

 

Explanation: So, this isn't about health, but this is something i really wanted to do for some time now, and never did until a week ago. I want to learn a third language (Portuguese is native, English is the second), and i choose German. I started using Duolingo to learn it a week ago, and have also been using some sites and videos on YouTube to support the simple lessons on Duolingo. So far so good, i have been managing to study at least 15 minutes a day. On this 4 week challenge, i'll maintain this rhythm and make this an habit!

 

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So, this is it! Let's see how this goes. Good luck for me and for everyone, let's do this! :)

 

 

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So it should be fine for me to spam you with Aggretsuko gifs, right?

 ConfusedBackChimneyswift-size_restricted

 

 

Your challenge is HAAAAAARD!! That's a major boss battle you're taking on. May you be victorious! :)

 

 

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Excellent goals! I also love burgers. If I were trapped in a burger-worshipping cult, I would submit and worship, and be happy. I guess that will never change. Do you have some great healthy recipes you love that are easy to cook? It's hard to say no to burgers if you don't have a great alternative lined up. I feel you on the reading... I used to devour books as a child, but now I'm a total screen zombie. Something for the next challenge. Oh, and ich drucke dir die Daumen (I press to you the thumbs)! For luck, you know. 

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1 hour ago, Arkania said:

If you need help with German, I am here :)

Following and nice goals!

Danke! :)

 

I still don't know enough to start a conversation without relying on Google Translate, but thanks a lot :)

 

29 minutes ago, Harriet said:

Excellent goals! I also love burgers. If I were trapped in a burger-worshipping cult, I would submit and worship, and be happy. I guess that will never change. Do you have some great healthy recipes you love that are easy to cook? It's hard to say no to burgers if you don't have a great alternative lined up. I feel you on the reading... I used to devour books as a child, but now I'm a total screen zombie. Something for the next challenge. Oh, and ich drucke dir die Daumen (I press to you the thumbs)! For luck, you know. 

 

Right? Burgers are awesome, but they are sooo bad for my health in large quantities :( . I don't have many recipes (i'm a disaster in kitchen and, quite honestly, i'm lazy). During lunch, i eat in a restaurant near my place, which has a reasonable price and the food is great, so I always grab some meat, beet, carrots and beans, and change one or two things depending on the menu of that day (today i added some corn, tomato, broccoli and half an egg. Nah, it's not much, i grab a bit of each thing :P ).

 

My problem is during the night, where I can either cook or order unhealthy stuff. What I am doing is quite simple: I cook some vegetables (usually broccoli and/or carrots, and i frequently add some cabbage) and then i use just a drop of oil to prepare some chicken. It's not a "healthy feast", but it is working for me for almost a month now, and it certainly kills me slower than burguers and pizza.

 

Recently i noticed i was still hungry after eating dinner, so i have increased the quantity of chicken i prepare. It worked yesterday - i wasn't totally "filled", but i felt that it was enough.

 

Danke dir auch. :)

 

5 hours ago, Nol said:

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Wow, it sounds like you're doing very well with your dinners! They do sound very healthy!

Do you intentionally keep away from carbs in the evening? If you're getting a good amount of veg and a good amount of protein, being hungry might come from lack of carbs or fat. I know I don't feel satisfied unless I include all food groups in my meals (fat is especially important for me to feel full for example, but a lot of people I know find carbs very important).

 

Keep it up! And listen to your body :D

 

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1 hour ago, Nol said:

Wow, it sounds like you're doing very well with your dinners! They do sound very healthy!

Do you intentionally keep away from carbs in the evening? If you're getting a good amount of veg and a good amount of protein, being hungry might come from lack of carbs or fat. I know I don't feel satisfied unless I include all food groups in my meals (fat is especially important for me to feel full for example, but a lot of people I know find carbs very important).

 

Keep it up! And listen to your body :D

 

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Actually, that's a problem - i just ate dinner, and i'm already hungry.

 

I don't usually eat carbs because I'm too lazy to cook rice. As for bread, after all, is it healthy or not? Maybe i should put my veggies and chicken inside two loafs of whole bread?

 

Some guides say that i should avoid carbs like hell, especially during the night, so that's why i stopped eating bread. :X

 

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Btw, aside from the hunger i'm feeling right now (will eat a bit more later, some iogurt maybe), Day 2 has been a success: German, Boxing (cause i missed yesterday, it was raining, so i went today), diet... everything is working for now. :)

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Yeah, it's hard to sort through all the contradictory dietary advice, right? Carbs are demonic, or maybe healthy if they're unrefined, or maybe necessary for athletes, or possible useful for some people depending on how you respond to them.

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Personally, I am capable of hugely overeating refined carbs, after which I feel tired & moody. But I tend not to overeat meat & veg, they make me feel full pretty quickly. Plus I've read Taubes & Ludwig who think that frequent sugar/refined carbs -> chronically high insulin -> fat & tired. Since I'm always tired and not exactly short on body fat, I thought I'd give low carb a go. But I don't know if it will work for me, let alone everyone else. Oh well, nothing to do but forge ahead with the one person experiment. 

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Oh, and I wanted to say. If you have to cook dinners, pick out some easy, healthful, delicious recipes. Nothing much more than about 6 ingredients and 20 minutes effort (unsupervised baking time not included). I've gotta be honest, plain veg and chicken does not sound like it would be delicious enough to keep me from straying to fast food. Or do you use some sort of sauce or seasoning? Obviously you have to sort through lots of recipes to find something that fits all three criteria, but they absolutely exist and are worth finding & practicing. Good luck!

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13 minutes ago, Harriet said:

Oh, and I wanted to say. If you have to cook dinners, pick out some easy, healthful, delicious recipes. Nothing much more than about 6 ingredients and 20 minutes effort (unsupervised baking time not included). I've gotta be honest, plain veg and chicken does not sound like it would be delicious enough to keep me from straying to fast food. Or do you use some sort of sauce or seasoning? Obviously you have to sort through lots of recipes to find something that fits all three criteria, but they absolutely exist and are worth finding & practicing. Good luck!

About carbs, yeah, i'm confused, but maybe i should try to increase the quantity a bit. I'm feeling too hungry.

 

About cooking stuff, i use a prepared seasoning mix (salt+pepper+garlic) and some onion. I wouldn't be able to eat it without season, it's not really that good. :P

 

Do you have any recipes you might suggest?

 

Thanks a lot! :)

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Yes, I'll gladly tell you what I make. But of course, what I consider delicious might not be the same as what you find delicious, so you still have to experiment! 

Pan fry a nice steak (not too lean), roast asparagus & small tomatoes in oven until brown, slightly shrivelled (20 min), crumble blue cheese over steak & eat. Or swap blue cheese for hummus and olives. Olives and steak? Yes, indeed. Carb option: slice white potatoes & roast until golden - at least 30 min.

 

Alternative: roast the same vegetables, but coat salmon with a little coconut fat and broil until golden and crispy (15-20 min) and serve with plain lemon juice, or lemon & capers, or lemon yoghurt sauce, or green pesto. If you chuck garlic, lemon, and chilli into the hot pan after the salmon or vegetables come out, the garlic won't be raw.


Roast or pan fry some nice cuts of pork (not too lean or too fatty), steam favourite green vegetables (broccoli, asian greens, or beans & peas), serve with store bought apple sauce without to much added sugar. Mashed potato if you like, with salt, pepper & butter (butter makes plain things yum). Or if you feel fancy, stew some fresh apples and dried cranberries until soft, add a dash of lemon.

 

Cook quinoa, fry halloumi, microwave broccoli, serve with kalamata olives and balsamic vinegar & olive oil (v high fat meal).

 

Fry up zucchini until brown, add tinned green lentils, chop mozzarella & scatter on top, serve with balsamic vinegar, lots of fresh basil. 

 

Rocket/aragula salad with tinned black beans, tofu (bake 20 min to achieve gold & crispy without too much oil), make dressing out of yoghurt, habanero pepper sauce, and lemons. Add avocados if desired. 

 

Got a great red or green curry available at your shop? Fry tofu until golden, add capsicum and asian greens, bit of red curry, coconut milk, and fresh lime juice. Or fry up tempeh until golden, add microwaved broccoli, green curry, coconut milk, fresh basil & lime leaves if possible.

 

Tinned chickpea & leafy salad with tomato, mozzarella, red onion, dressing made from tahini, oil, lemon, fresh garlic.

 

These are a few of the things I've been making recently. As you can see, we don't eat lots of meat. I do have some other, fancier dishes for when people come over, but these are some of my simplest things. Hope you find something you love! 
 

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Yeah, cooking carbs can be annoying, but then again, once cooked, they tend to keep better than veggies ^_^

For example, you can cook rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes (my absolute favourite carb and suuuuper healthy!) in advance and keep them in the fridge for 3 days for rice, 4-5 days for potatoes/sweet potatoes.

Another awesome source of carbs, that's also a source of fibers and proteins and overall super healthy, is BEANS! As Harriet mentioned, you can get pre-cooked canned beans (and chickpeas, etc.), they usually taste great and keep good nutritional value as far as I know, and you can just throw them in your dish, and voilà! The only downside of beans is that they can be challenging for the digestive system if you already have gut issues.

 

My personal opinion is that no food is bad, it's all about quantities and about what your body needs right now.

Have you noticed if your cravings change, sometimes it's more the saltiness that you need, sometimes it's the comforting burger buns/pizza dough, sometimes it's fatty cheese, or satisfying meat?

So far, all we know (scientifically) is that we should eat lots of fresh vegetables and that highly transformed foods/junk foods are bad in large quantities (plus sme other stuff about cured meats and cancer, but let's keep it simple for now xD).

I would say that you don't need to worry about eating some carbs, or adding an extra tsp of oil. My personal metric of a healthy meal is whether I get this wholesome feeling of satisfaction when eating it. It's a bit vague I admit, but it works.

I hope that by the end of this challenge, you'll have your own personal metric ;)

 

*cue music*

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(I hope this didn't sound too much like a lecture!)

 

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I'm easily tempted by fast food and convenience food too. I like to cook for other people, but most of the time I'm just feeding myself. I don't want to spend time in the kitchen to make a meal for one (not at the end of a long day teaching kids!) I've learned that if I just do chicken and veg I get too bored. My eating works best if I make up some kind of cool sauce or tasty thing on the weekend, and have some of that everyday with my chicken and veg. (Harriet had some good suggestions for sauces etc.) I'm also lucky to live in a place where I can get some healthy meals delivered. Boredom is definitely a killer. If I cut too many flavors out of my diet, I'll just give up and go back to fast food. 

 

I hope you can find some strategies to make dinner interesting this month!

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@Nol: Don't worry about the lecture thing: Advice is more than welcome! Feel free to say anything you think it might help - i'm really greateful! :)

 

I think more beans might be a good idea! I'll check the grocery store to see if i can find some pre-cooked ones.

 

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@Lady Amezan: Hey, a fellow teacher! :D Exactly, i miss some flavors, and that's the hard part!

 

Third day and, for now, everything is working ok! :)

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5 hours ago, Exylem said:

Third day and, for now, everything is working ok! :)

 

Awesome!

As lady Amezan said, I hope you can find simple and interesting flavours to add to your meals.

What do you teach?

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18 hours ago, Lady Amezan said:

My eating works best if I make up some kind of cool sauce or tasty thing

 

If I cut too many flavors out of my diet, I'll just give up and go back to fast food. 

 

Yes, this is so true. There should be something flavoursome on every meal. There are lots of high calorie things like strong cheeses, olives, avocado, hummus, coconut cream, pistachios, but also low calorie things like lemon, soy, ginger, garlic, cumin, capers, jalapeño peppers, fresh basil, chilli. This reminds me, I need to be less lazy and use more spices. 

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2 hours ago, Nol said:

 

Awesome!

As lady Amezan said, I hope you can find simple and interesting flavours to add to your meals.

What do you teach?

Biology. :) And i'm now almost finished with my Master's in Education! 

2 hours ago, Harriet said:

 

Yes, this is so true. There should be something flavoursome on every meal. There are lots of high calorie things like strong cheeses, olives, avocado, hummus, coconut cream, pistachios, but also low calorie things like lemon, soy, ginger, garlic, cumin, capers, jalapeño peppers, fresh basil, chilli. This reminds me, I need to be less lazy and use more spices. 

True thing!

 

I bought some tomatoes, mustard, potatoes, carrots and chicken. I'll try to "combine" these things and see what happens.

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14 hours ago, Harriet said:

How did your cooking go?

Everything is fine for now! I'm still eating chicken and some vegetables. I included a tomato in the mix, and i plan to "invent" some sauce later today. Let's see if it works :)

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So, 1 week! Lemme do a recap:

 

1- Reduce the amount of Junk Food

How: I can only order pizza/hamburguers/etc. on weekends

 

So, i succeeded - didn't order anything outside of weekends, so that's good! On this weekend i exaggerated on the cheating - on Saturday, i went with some friends to a rodízio (i believe that's what you call "all-you-can-eat" in English) where we got lasagne, spaghetti and stuff like that. It would be fine, since it is not something we do all the time, but, on Sunday (yesterday), i ordered a pizza. So, yeah, i didn't break the challenge, but i went too crazy on the cheating weekend.

 

Btw, i have a problem with pizza: Usually, i can't eat an entire pizza, so i save some for the other day. As this was done on Sunday, i ended up throwing away three slices that i didn't eat yesterday. I feel bad for wasting food (and money). I could simply order 4 slices, instead of an entire pizza, but all my life i had the problem we call here  as "having an eye bigger than your belly". I'm the guy who orders absurd amounts of food because i want to eat those things, but i end up not finishing everything (and, even if i don't waste it and end up eating on the next day, i would still be eating more than intended, right?).

 

I have to train myself to think more rationally and order the right amount of things. I feel really bad for that, especially when i end up wasting things. It sucks ><

 

2- Keep going to the gym

How: Go boxing at least 3 times a week

 

So, nothing really new here: I did it! <Dark Souls message>

 

3- Read more

How: I need to read (for fun) at least once a day, regardless of number of pages

 

I skipped reading on saturday because i was too tired after going out with friends (and i didn't read earlier), so, oops. However, i'm reading much more than expected when i do, so, not that bad. Almost finishing the book!

 

 

Extra: Learn German

How: I need to study German at least 15 minutes a day.

 

Last days i admit i was a bit lazy to study it, but I managed to finish the 15 minutes. So, it is working!

 

Overall, not a perfect week, but i think i did good. Eating is the hardest thing, and it could be better, but not bad considering my not-so-old habits. :)

 

 

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