Monday, January 2, 2012

Shout Out to Sprouts

187 lbs. Oh yeah, BIG step backwards. However, I am back on the REAL HCG protocol (not the crap they sell at GNC. It’s chocolate mint flavored, but still…). I can feel the difference.

I got back to the gym today for the first time in a few days and, as one may expect in January, it was crowded. There were the usual faces (Hey, when you’re dedicated, you’re dedicated) and a whole bunch of red, sweaty new faces puffing away on the treadmills and ellipticals.  If you’re one of them: good for you. STICK WITH IT. If you find you’re working above your level, dial it back a bit until you improve your strength/endurance and then push a little harder. DON’T GIVE UP. Okay, so you can’t do 20 pushups. That’s okay, ALL YOU CAN DO IS WHAT YOU CAN DO AND THAT’S ALL YOU NEED TO DO.

If you made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and/or improve health, don’t forget the eating component. Some of those red, sweaty faces may have left the gym and gone around the corner to the brand new Chik Fil A for a combo meal. Here’s the thing: if you’re going to make the effort, the smart move is to support it. I’m not talking about encouragement from those around you (and really, you should be your own cheering section. More on that in a bit), but about intake.

Part of health improvement/maintenance depends on the food you put in the body. Unfortunately, the really affordable stuff does nothing for you except to keep you from feeling hungry for a period of time (that would be ramen noodles). It also has the potential to wreck your health: high sodium, chemical shortcuts used to make the “food” cheaper and other means of maintaining/squeezing profits best not examined too closely. I strongly suggest reading “Food, Inc.” and seeing “Supersize Me.” You’ll never touch another Chicken McNugget.

Ideally, the argument goes, we should be eating organic, local and fresh as often as possible. However, there is a reason the biggest chain selling “health” foods is also known as “Whole Paycheck.” In their defense, though, I’ve found that their prices for apples were lower than Ralph’s: $2.29 per pound v. $2.49.  (For those outside the Southern California region, I’m speaking of local grocery chains. Outside of the Southland, Ralph’s is Krogers).  

Doing a little “on the fly” grocery shopping this weekend to prepare for the Reduced Calorie phase of HCG, I found a delightful surprise: Sprouts Market (or Henry’s. Six of one, half dozen of the other) is considerably lower in price on the foods I was buying. Even lower than my beloved Trader Joe’s. Apples were $.99 per pound. That’s 61% lower than Ralph’s. Trader Joe’s has been selling cucumbers for $1.49 each. Sprouts has them for $.49 each or 67% lower.  This is fresh produce, stuff that’s good for your body and it’s AFFORDABLE. Cucumbers are full of lignans that are linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. They are also full of anti-inflammatory compounds. All this for less than 50 cents! Such a deal!

I haven’t even mentioned the great prices on oranges and grapefruit (pink grapefruit is a beautiful thing).

I have the circular advertising (until February 2012) ground buffalo for $7.99 per pound. It’s leaner than beef, lower calorie and higher in iron. Normally, if you go to Whole Foods, the price per pound is nearly double that of Sprouts.
Sprouts even has the beef shanks necessary for making Gram Thatcher's vegetable soup and for less than Whole Foods. So, the next time I get a request to make it, I know where to go.

I use flavored liquid stevia as a sweetening alternative for my coffee. Whole Foods: $13.99 per bottle. Sprouts: $8.99 per bottle.

Sprouts also has a pretty good selection of health and beauty aids at good prices. Same stuff as Whole Foods (Jason, Dermae, etc.) for half to one-third the price.

I had considered spending a month doing my grocery shopping at the 99 Cent Store to see if one could get good, healthy food. However, someone has beaten me to the punch: .  This is one I’ll follow with considerable interest.

One of my friends told me about a conversation she had with a third friend where they were discussing my weight loss. The third friend kept asking who I was losing the weight for and couldn’t grasp the idea that I wasn’t doing this for anyone but me.  

I periodically post my progress (alliteration! English majors will get that) on Facebook and I will see a whole bunch of “Likes” on the status. I share the progress because I feel elated and that I’m achieving something. I post to share the good feeling and only to share the good feeling. Even if the comments were “Shut up, Bitch” or “So what, you’re still fat”, I’d still hit the gym 6 days a week and do what I’m doing. I like the routine I’ve established (the right knee doesn’t share my enthusiasm. It’s achy right now, but I don’t see Dr. Best for a few weeks because, and this is ironic, he had to have knee surgery at the end of December). I like the friends I’ve made there (Fucktard notwithstanding. He was screaming at someone else the other day). If I didn’t believe in what I was doing, I wouldn’t continue doing it, even if everybody I knew was telling me to stick with it. They aren’t inside my skin and my head. I’m doing this for me. At the end of the day, it’s just me.

So, if you’re one of the red, sweaty faces at the gym and you are DETERMINED to make this stick, be your own cheering section. And wipe off the elliptical before I get on it.

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