I certainly don’t want to become part of the great diet debate, however, since a lot of people are fat, formerly including me, It seemed worth it to throw in my two cents. I am not any kind of expert on this, but I did my own research and found that eating healthy foods is not that hard if you commit.
Here is what I have learned:
1. We mostly get WAY too much fat in our diets, and saturated fat is the worst type. I know this is old-school, but it works. Excessive dietary fat will clog arteries and cause all kinds of havoc.
2. While “good fat” has become a new buzz-word, we still need very little of it. Large amounts of olive oil etc, will still cause weight gain and the accompanying diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids can be gotten from fish oil etc.
3. Cutting carbs, while successful in the short-term, is not terribly logical: the body needs complex carbs to operate without metabolic wastes building up.
4. Simple sugars are almost as bad as fat, though in a different way. Processed foods have lots of both.
5. Eating less will make you feel better, and your appetite will decrease, making it easier to stay on your diet; this adjustment takes a couple weeks at most.
6. The quote: “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels” is the truth.
7. A low-fat diet will change your sense of taste; greasy foods will make you queasy and will seem a bit disgusting after a while.
8. It is not necessary to eat vegetarian to do this. (though I do.) Animal fat is all saturated, however, so it takes more work to avoid high fat loads.
9. The fiber in vegetables, fruits and grains will keep things from “stalling” allowing more waste build-up in the colon.
10. “Canola” oil is not actually a food; it is extracted from the inedable Rapeseed plant through the use of industrial solvents. It is low in saturated fat, but not enough to be worth seeking it out.
11. Low-fat diets can reverse the arterial plaques that cause cardiovascular disease. This was documented many years ago by Dr. Dean Ornish, a cardiologist, through the use of nuclear imaging. As patients changed their diet, their arteries opened.
12. Fat inside the body, called “visceral fat” is much worse than the kind under the skin. There are many toxins in it, and it applies pressure to our internal organs. This is why it is hard to “suck in” our stomach when we are overweight. Working our abs will not fix this, since there is “stuffing” in there.
13. Fruit juice is almost pure sugar, while eating the whole fruit is much more balanced. Nobody ever got fat eating apples.
14. While the new wisdom is that inflammation, rather than fat, is the cause of heart disease, a whole-food low fat diet takes care of both, since vegetables are anti-inflammatory.
15. Fish is good, but beware lots of tuna and other top predators, as they are laden with mercury and other heavy metal pollution.
16. While most people worry about protein, adults don’t need as much as they think… if necessary a protein supplement can be added.
17. It is only possible to lose about 2 pounds of actual weight per week. Any more and it is probably dehydration and will return instantly. This is a healthy weight-loss rate.
18. Most people are overweight because of what they eat, not any kind of metabolic condition. While there are exceptions, eating less will fix this.
19. Some foods are simply not worth the calories… the amount of pleasure they give is not even close to the dietary damage they cause. (see chips below)
At Chipotle (see nutrition chart above) here are two meals: one a typical burrito and chips, and the other my (arguably extreme) choice.
1. Burrito with rice, black beans, chicken, cheese, sour cream and guacamole, with a side of chips and a coke.
Calories: 191o Fat: 79g Saturated fat: 23g Fat calories: 711 Fat % 37 Protein 70g
2. Bowl with brown rice, black beans, grilled vegetables, salsa, corn, lettuce, unsweet tea.
Calories: 405 Fat: 7g Saturated fat: 1g Fat calories: 63 Fat% 15.5 Protein 14g
The biggest offender: Chips: 570 calories, 27g fat. To me, this is one of those “not worth it” items.
Some might say the bowl is short on protein; while there is less here, the number of calories per protein gram is almost the same.
What this approach did for me:
Starting weight: 203 (October 2011) Ending weight: 162 (February 2012)
It is not necessary to starve… I chose bulkier low-fat foods and lost a lot of weight with nearly no sense of deprivation. I know each person is different…Just something to think about.