Notice that I did not use the four-letter word “diet.” We have forgotten how to eat sensibly, so patients have told me that any time they are not eating candy bars, they feel like they are on a diet. But candy bars aren’t food. Real food does not make you fat, only processed and refined foods make you fat. Things you eat that provide calories and flavor are not always food. Real food offers nourishment in the form of minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids and essential proteins, all of which are utilized for growth, healing and repair of cells.
So, next time you sit down to eat, ask yourself if you are eating any real food. Subs from Subway are a good example of the dilemma. There is protein and some small amount of vegetables-food. But there is a huge amount of refined bread-or non-food. So the value of the good is outweighed by the bad, making Subway a zero in terms of benefits to the body, and a poor choice for a weight loss plan. Lots of calories with little return.
Dense calories should be used only when they will offer nutrition, and keep blood sugar stable. Butter, avocado, oily fish, and salad dressings made from unrefined oils are examples. This type of fat offers vital fatty acids needed for brain function and anti-inflammation properties, so this is a good place to “spend” calories.
You can score anything you eat this way. Fresh, whole foods, especially organic and prepared at home, score the highest. Restaurant food is usually not as good, unless you are eating at one that serves organic food.
Take off points for any chemicals or preservatives added. And take off points if you choose a non-food, like bread or dessert, to go along with your meal. Whole grain bread? Depends on how it is made and most is not very good quality these days, so hard to say if it has any value. If you have any kind of gluten sensitivity or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or Diabetes, any wheat product is a non-food.
The best choices are going to be vegetables, protein and fruit, with healthy fats. So, the next tip is to plan ahead. The worst thing is to arrive home starving, and reach for something quickly before you pass out. Or get stuck on the road with no time for anything but junk.
You can keep bits of meat like Chicken and turkey or jerky to grab. Cheese and nuts are not good choices, because they are too dense calorie-wise, and will blow your diet in a few bites. Celery with a touch of peanut butter or humus can work. This is a good snack if you feel you must eat before bedtime. Celery is known to lower blood pressure, so is a good choice if yours runs high.
You can prepare a nutritious/protein drink in the morning and save some for when you arrive home from work. Spin it again in the blender with some ice and drink it before you reach for something less healthy. We have chocolate Stevia in the office, and that can be added to a shake. A chocolate protein shake is also a dessert choice for after dinner when you or a family member feels like snacking.
An apple or cut up veggies, eaten on the way home, or when you arrive, can satisfy you while you prepare a meal. If you stock up on small steaks, burger patties or chicken cutlets, you can grab something from the freezer and throw it on a small grill or broiler for fast protein. A fast stir-fry or green salad rounds out the meal. Prepare oil and vinegar dressing ahead and avoid the bottled dressings. I like olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a little mustard and salt. If you or your family likes blue cheese dressing, you can make a basic oil and vinegar and add blue cheese crumbles. Avocado can also be added to oil and vinegar in a blender to make a creamy dressing so you avoid mayonnaise. Or make your own mayonnaise, but avoid the white goo in a jar, made with soybean oil and a list of chemicals.
Sliced avocado is delicious with smoked salmon, for a gluten-free breakfast that is a break from eggs. Have 2/3 of your calories for the day before 4 pm. That change alone can make all the difference in weight. By survey the biggest eating mistake made is eating too much food in the evening, and often it is snack food, empty of any nutrients, but full of addictive chemicals. The U.S. leads the world in the production of non-food, and it is killing us slowly, and making us fat and miserable meanwhile.
Sweet tooth? Try a few strawberries with a little cocoa powder and a sprinkle of xylitol. Slice peaches, plums or pears in a baking dish, drizzle with stevia or xylitol, and bake until soft. Add some butter and chopped nuts if your eating plan allows it.
Even if you are tired, move around after dinner. Take a walk, either outside or on a mini-trampoline or treadmill. Stretch. Especially if you have been sitting down most of the day, work out a simple stretching program to take out the kinks and get some blood circulating. You may find that you sleep better. Many people suffer from leg cramps or sore feet. Stretching may make all the difference. For a good book on simple moves to relieve body aches, check out Pete Egoscue’s “Pain Free” and “Pain Free At Your Computer.”
At work, set an alarm and get up and stretch or walk around every hour. People who stand instead of sit down lose more weight, according to research. http://www.livestrong.com/article/371881-how-to-lose-weight-while-standing/
Can you think yourself thin? Perhaps, but it doesn’t seem to be easy to do or more people would be doing it. However, you can certainly decide to be thin and act accordingly. Forget the idea that skinny people eat anything they want to. Most thin people I know are very aware of what they eat, and how their eating habits affect their body. They have worked out a plan that fits them and they know what they need to do to maintain their weight. It may look effortless, but usually it is not, especially these days. And anyone who reaches the age of 40, 50 or beyond and is still slim has most often lead a lifetime of good habits.
Being thin does not mean a person is always healthy. I had one very thin (and unhealthy) patient whose diet consisted of spoons of ice cream nibbled throughout the day, and not much else. But a thin person has developed eating habits that keep their metabolism in check. Choose whole foods and the weight loss will be easier. If you have let yourself get seriously overweight for a length of time, it may take quite a lot to reverse it. One way is the Ketogenic diet. I have my own version of it; so if you want more information, contact us.
I don’t think that being fat comes naturally to human bodies, although the evidence before our eyes might make it seem otherwise. There is such a change in metabolism and the body is so over-burdened by too much food, that I think we are meant to be slim. But the body will get used to eating too much, and breaking that habit may require a real strategy, and a new perspective on food. We can help.
Email me your favorite tips for staying on a diet, and I will share them here.
May you always be well-nourished but not over-served.