I was just outraged by an article I read that said Coke-Cola was funding scientists who support the idea that the obesity epidemic is being caused not by us consuming too many calories, but by not exercising enough. The majority of scientist believes the opposite, because it is pretty clear that when sales of soft drinks and supersized meals went up obesity went up with them.
Soda sales are dropping, but soft drink companies are marketing vitamin water and coconut water etc,.. as healthy substitutes. They may have some healthy ingredients in them, but they still contain calories. Bottom line liquid calories don't get registered in your stomach. They don't make you feel full, so you need to keep away from them because it is too easy to over consume liquid calories.
The following list is my strategy for keeping off extra weight. Yes, it is this complicated, and yes, I think about every bite I put in my mouth because we live in such a toxic food environment. Most people in the US are not even aware of all the calories they consume in a day.
1) Weight yourself every morning. It is easier to loss a pound or two by staying aware of your weight than it is to try to loss 10 pounds that sneak up on you because you weren't aware of the weight you were adding on each day. Weight fluctuates so give yourself a 5 pound range that is OK for you to stay in, if you go over that range you know it is time to eat less until you get back to your designated weight.
2) Avoid calorie drinks. Drink calorie drinks occasionally, and if you do factor their calories into your calories for the day. So, if I decide to have a cocktail with my dinner; I don't eat dessert.
3) Try to eat three meals a day at regular times. Don't snack in between meals. Instead drink tea or coffee preferably unsweetened or with the minimum amount of sweeteners that still makes the drink palatable. Drink water.... constantly. It is energizing, and sometimes your body sends hunger signals when it is actually thirsty.... so water, water, water!
4) Make breakfast a real meal. At least 400 calories. Include some whole grain carbohydrate in it to get you going: like oatmeal or whole wheat toast. I recommend whole fat milk products like yogurt or cheese too. Fat is necessary to a healthy diet and it keeps you from feeling hungry. Most Americans try to save calories by eating less at breakfast but what happens is you end up snacking more and eating more at night.
5) Don't buy snack food or desserts for the house. If you do keep snack food in the house store it out of sight so you are less likely to eat it. If you decide to have some chips or cookies, look at what a serving is on the bag and portion it out into a dish. Put the bag away before you eat your treat. We tend to have cakes and cookies for special occasions or I buy a single one for each kid as a treat. When I go out to dinner is when I usually indulge in dessert. If I get a sweet craving I eat a piece of dark chocolate, which is more satisfy than milk chocolate because it is richer and has less sugar.
6) Exercise daily but realize that exercise, especially walking and cardio is more for your heart than for your weight. Weight lifting does help improve your metabolism because the more muscular you are the more calories your body burns in a day. The bottom line for weight loss is eating less. 20 minutes on the treadmill only burns about 100 calories. If you go home and eat 4 barbecue potato chips you equaled the 100 calories. The reality is... you have to do a tremendous amount of exercise to loss weight while continuing to over eat and snack.
7) Eat out as little as possible. You'll save money and calories eating at home. On average we eat 50% more food when we eat out, so if you can doggy bag half of your meal every time you go out you might be OK, but it is hard to do.
8) Eat real food. Frozen dinners, baked goods, chips are not real food. Real food is food in it's natural state. Like fruits, vegetables, whole grains (brown rice, millet, barley, not pasta.) Whole milk yogurt and cheese that still have live cultures that are good for digestion are real food, not low fat, sugar added yogurt cups. When food is processed it looses nutrition and fiber (that makes you feel full) salt and additives are usually added to processed food too, which can be a problem for people prone to high blood pressure and allergies.
9) Eat mostly fruits and vegetables. The protein you eat should be naturally low fat: poultry, fish, beans as opposed to pork and beef (which are fine occasionally). Fruits and vegetables should be fresh or frozen, canned has very little nutritional value (usually a lot of sugar or salt). Reduce the amount of carbohydrates you eat. As you get older your body doesn't need carbohydrates as much and they tend to put on pounds on your body. Things like baked goods: cake, cookies, muffins, bagels should be reserved for special occasions, not daily consumption.
10) Learn what a portion REALLY is and only eat that amount. A portion of chips is not a bag. Cookie portions are usually two. Pasta is not a big bowl. A portion of meat is the size of a deck of cards. We are really out of whack in the US as far as our sense of how much we should be eating at each meal. Google portions of your favorite foods and only put that much on you plate.
If you are overweight get help. Talk to your doctor, see a dietitian, join Weight Watchers. It is hard to loss weight, especially if you can't identify the habits that got you there in the first place. These people are trained to help you loss weight in a healthy way. Fad diets and extreme exercise can be unhealthy and dangerous if you have undetected health problems.
Weekly Menu Plan:
Sunday: Grilled Chicken, Corn on the Cob, Cole Slaw
Meatless Monday: Black Bean Enchiladas with guacamole and sour cream
Tuesday: Quick Paella
Wednesday: Hot dogs, beans, roasted potatoes, green salad
Thursday: Grilled Swordfish with a Moroccan Rub (store bought) Brown Rice, Sauted Zucchini
Saturday: Sausage & Peppers on Grinders