Posts Tagged ‘whole grains’

Five Things That Have Helped Me Lose Weight

I hereby proclaim Wednesdays on this blog to be “Five-Things-Wednesdays.”  

Over the past few days several people have asked me what I “did” to lose the first 19 pounds.  The sad news is that there’s no magic bullet, no turnkey fad diet I can reference.   But enough people have asked that I decided to list below five things I’ve employed to help me lose weight:

1.)  As you might surmise from the title of the blog, I skip dessert.  Actually I skip sweets altogether.  That started in March, and led to my getting serious about losing weight.  I’ve eaten fewer than five desserts since then, and even those were in markedly smaller quantities than I’d ever have eaten before.  I don’t miss them, except on rare occasions (which I’ll describe in a future post – stay tuned).

2.)  As the subtitle of the blog suggests, I take the stairs if there is an option to do so.  And I park farther away than I normally would if there is an option to do so.  All of which I like to think of as passive exercise.

3.)  I stopped eating fast food.  What is “fast food?”  If there’s a drive-up window and the food comes out in a small paper sack, it’s fast food.   Since Christmas Eve 2010 I’ve eaten exactly three Taco Bell chicken quesadillas, and that is the only thing that passes for fast food I’ve eaten since then (which was before I even got serious about losing weight – I just decided fast food wasn’t doing me any favors).  Do I miss it?  Yes.  Because it’s fast.  I could drive through Burger King, check my email while sitting in my car in the line and eat the burger(s) while I was driving.  Can’t do any of that without fast food.  I do not, however, miss the “food” itself.

4.)  I stopped drinking sugary/fake sugary sodas at the same time.  I drink water, bubbly water (H2O with CO2 and maybe a little natural flavor) and occasionally tea (unsweetened – and yes, I miss that), sometimes juice (real juice – no high-fructose corn syrup added) and coffee.

5.)  I write this blog.  Which helps me focus on what I’m doing and keeps me accountable to the people who read it.  I want you to make endless fun of me if you see me with McDonald’s special sauce smeared on my tie or buttercream icing on my nose.  Because I don’t like it when people make fun of me, I’ll make an extra effort not to do the things that would lead you to do so.

And a bonus thing number 6.)  I avoid white-bread and all white-refined flour products whenever possible.  Sometimes it’s not possible without being fairly rude, and I’m not ready to do that just yet.  But when it is possible, which is most of the time, I opt for whole-wheat/whole-grain breads, cereals, rices and pastas.

The Question Is, How Big Is The Plate?

You may have seen this new US Federal guideline for healthy eating recently.  It replaces the “old” food pyramid, which I never much cared for.  I’m not really sure how I feel about this one either, since about five minutes of Googling can turn up experts who would argue for making any portion of it bigger or smaller.  It’s probably just fine.  More information about the new program here.

I do think it should be clear that the “grains” category needs to be whole grains, not ultra-processed white bread.  Speaking for my own metabolism only, whole grains are a big deal.  Regardless of whether we use a plate or a pyramid as a guide, the question is, “how much food are we talking about?”  This can be a healthy plate  … or not … entirely depending on how much food is actually on it as much as what that food is.

Some people will see this (ok, at some points in my life I would have seen this) as a call to add two pounds of fruits and vegetables to go along with my 16-ounces of NY Strip.  And biscuits.   And I know people (clearly not me) who would see this as a call to add an extra berry to their single slice of deli turkey.  How do we communicate healthy quantities?

I realize it’s tricky telling people how much food they should eat.  What I need to be healthy is entirely different from what a 120-pound teenage girl needs to consume to be healthy.  Unfortunately, we all have to engage in a little trial and error with a big dash of common sense to find the right formula.

Here’s hoping this new plate will surprise me and be a good starting point for people who haven’t given eating much critical thought

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