Thursday, September 07, 2006

In the beginning...

Why do I blog? The real question is why not. I’ll try almost anything once, from skydiving and bungee jumping to eating black pudding and haggis in the UK. Then there was that time in college when I wore a miracle bra to a frat party. Needless to say, that never happened again.

Another reason for this inaugural post, I finally succumbed to peer pressure after several friends talked me into it. Seeing as how there are already so many people posting their every thought and impulse on the World Wide Web, I figured why not join the crowd!

Most important, however, I’m writing this blog to both chronicle my efforts to maintain a healthier lifestyle and encourage others to do the same. Rapidly approaching the “Big 30” – and cursed with a family history that includes Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Diabetes, heart disease and various forms of cancer – I’ve found it’s more important than ever to adopt a smart, balanced approach to eating and exercise.

If you’re wondering what kind of insight I could possibly provide, well who better to write about a low-calorie lifestyle than someone who works with the Calorie Control Council? After several years cranking copy for daily newspapers in various cities, I turned in my reporting notebook last fall and moved into the world of communications. Through the ironies of destiny, I’ve wound up in Atlanta, working with CCC and other non-profit associations. I have spent a good chunk of time in recent months reading up on research involving low-calorie sweeteners and fat replacers. And I now have the pleasure of hanging out with registered dietitians who can rapidly tick off the number of calories and fat grams typically found in a slice of pizza.

However, don’t think this blog is coming from some gal with a perfect figure who’s always been able to hit the size 4 and 6 racks in the juniors department. I’ve had my share of ups and downs on the weight merry-go-round. Thanks to competitive sports, I was fortunate enough to make it through adolescence and early adulthood without having to watch what I ate. So it was a rude wakeup call when I hit my mid-to-late 20s and realized my butt got bigger just looking at a piece of cake. Now almost 30, I’m still trying to get back to my previous size – but that struggle has become easier since adopting a lower-calorie diet.

So what is the good news? Well, for one, science proves that eating low-calorie foods containing sugar substitutes such as sucralose (brand name Splenda®) are not only safe, but also a smart way to maintain a slim figure. Now, rarely will a high-calorie food pass my palate if I can find a lower-calorie, sugar-free option. And speaking of low-cal options, Splenda has virtually changed my diet. I put it in my coffee daily and am increasingly incorporating it into baking and cooking recipes.
As I (cough) “mature,” science dictates that I could be putting on at least a pound a year due to loss of muscle and increased body fat. To counteract that, I’ve been exercising daily and eating lower-cal foods, i.e. fruits and veggies, lean protein, whole grain breads and cereals, non-fat dairy. Let’s just say the days of mindless eating, beer bongs, tequila shots and chain smoking are officially over. I stay aware of calorie intake and how many of said calories I burn during the day. Like many other women, though, I still enjoy the occasional chocolate treat, pastry and cocktail. I’ve learned how to indulge in every one of these treats – and still regularly meet friends for dinner and drinks (in moderation, of course) - without packing on pounds. How? By making low-calorie substitutions whenever I can.

Be forewarned, this blog will be all over the board. Entries will range from the latest health news trends, scientific research, advice and commentary on “sugar-free” eating to snarky observations about general news and pop culture. Overall, I hope to help interested parties find ways to navigate this buffet of life while staying – or becoming – healthfully slim (no fad diets or eating disorders allowed). If you want the tricks of the trade, then this is where you’ll get the dish. Hope you enjoy!

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