Wednesday, September 26, 2012

It's Not What You Eat, But What's In It

I lost 70 pounds, have kept it off for 5 years and NEVER used a diet.  (No surgeries or drugs either, plus I don't do the gym routine.)  A big part of my success was eating slower so I could fill up quicker and paying attention to what was in my food, rather than giving up the stuff I liked.  Many times, we can simply modify the ingredients and still get great tasting food, but with far less calories.  Challenging when you go out to eat, because you lose control on the cooking, but very doable at home.
If you don't know who Rocco DiSpirito is, you need to drop everything you are doing right now and go meet him - at least online.  He is known for his excellent food recipes that deliver great taste, while not loaded up with calories, fat, and other icky stuff.  In a recent segment on Fox and Friends he shared some of his Italian creations that came in under 350 calories.
As an example, he talked about the meatballs his mother used to make that easily had 250 calories each.  He modified the ingredients and created a new version with every bit the same savory flavor, but only 45 calories each.  And, most important of all, his Mother said they were the best she ever had.
"Google" Rocco DiSpirito and check out all he has to offer in the fight against fat!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Why Do You Eat?

I don't advocate starvation, because its not healthy, not sustainable, and not a viable weight loss method.  But eating habits in general have a larger effect on gaining weight than exercise.  Sadly, the typical adult can easily eat more calories in a day than they can burn off. 
Thus, a big part of the weight loss picture is controlling what goes in your mouth (forever, not just a couple of weeks) in order to maximize nutrition while minimizing stupid calories.  But its not just the type of food you eat, its also the amount you eat.  You get just as many calories from eating multiple small servings as fewer big servings, when totaled at the end of the day.  So if you are one who skips meals, but constantly nibbles all day long, you may not be doing yourself in favors.
A very useful tool for analyzing your eating habits is to ask the question "Why Do You Eat?"  In reality, far too many people eat for reasons other than being hungry.  (I tend to eat when bored.)  Here is a list of the top reasons that people eat.  Where do you fit in?
  • Many of us eat because we are hungry - makes sense.
  • Most of us eat because its a habit - Meal Time!
  • Others eat because they want the energy that comes with the digestion of food, be it for energy for sports, or a way of fighting off fatigue throughout the day.
  • Some eat simply because of the overall nutritional value.
  • Environmental triggers such as sight and smell can trigger a desire to eat.
  • Others eat for the pleasure of the taste.
  • Boredom can lead to people popping snacks into their mouths as a way to break the monotony of the moment. (me!)
  • And then there are the people who use food as a comfort.  Studies show that individuals who are feeling sad have a tendency to eat more of less-healthy foods as a way of dealing with their emotions.
  • Along the same lines, eating may be used to combat stress.
  • And finally, lets not forget social interaction.  You eat, because you are with others who are eating, or having mealtime meetings, or at party's where food is served, etc, etc.
These are important questions, because so much of what most people eat is totally unnecessary towards sustaining their bodies.  They simply end up eating for all the wrong reasons and start stacking on the pounds.
Established habits and behaviors are very hard to break, but at the heart of successful weight loss is lifestyle change.  If you can make positive changes that make a difference and live with them forever, you will lose weight and keep it off.
By the same token, don't go too crazy, or you will find yourself going nowhere.


Monday, September 3, 2012

So You Started Walking - But Is It Enough?

If you started walking as a way to get exercise, congratulations, you are now part of the 6 in 10 adults in the country who use walking for physical activity.  Not only does walking have proven health benefits, its also something you can easily do with friends and family.
So, go ahead and pat yourself on the back for getting started on a path to fitness.  I'll even drink a toast to you for your efforts...oops... that means calories for me, but what the heck, I'll just go out and burn them off.
OK, now that the celebration is over, time to get back to work.  Just taking basic walks is not good enough in the long run, because you may not be burning off enough calories to reach your weight loss goals.  Truth be known, walking is great exercise, but it has to be done at a rate and frequency that ensures you are burning off the maximum amount of fat that you can.  Of course that doesn't come overnight, but over time you should gradually pick up the pace and make sure you are doing so on a daily basis.
According to the CDC (Centers For Disease Control) the proper amount of physical activity for adults and children looks something like this: 
  • Adults - 2.5 hours per week of physical activity at a moderate rate.  Think "fast-paced walk".
  • Children - 1 hour every day of physical activity at a moderate rate.
In reality, 2.5 hours per week isn't all that much, as you can do 30 minutes everyday for 5 days.  The key is too start out slow and work your way up. 
For example, I now do 5 miles or more of walking just about every day of the week. (I mix it up with 4 to 5 miles of  Standup Paddle Boarding).  My top end speed is 5mph, which is pretty fast in the walking world. BUT I had to work up to all of that over a period of time.
So at the end of the day, be proud that you have taken steps to get moving, but always be sure that those steps really count!