I’ve been paying a lot of attention to diet recently. I’m currently down about 15 lbs., and on my way to 30 lbs. This is no easy task for an old guy with a penchant for potato chips, ice cream and the like. I’m counting on a powerful mind, some good luck, an empty pantry and refrigerator, and a national boycott on french fries. If all that comes about, I’ve got a shot.
Part of my lifestyle change is to attend nutrition classes. These are very interesting and extremely disturbing all rolled up into one. The dietician teaching the classes is very good and takes an enormous amount of data and condenses it fairly well. The early takeaway is pretty simple – what we should eat and what we do eat are as far from one another as the east is from the west. OMG!
I want everyone to be well, so I’ll pass along some of the pearls of wisdom I’ve taken away thus far. These are in no order of priority.
Many of the American population consume a lion’s share of our calories in liquid form. Take note if you are a soda fan (diet or not). That refreshing, effervescent, bubbly, burp-inducing drink is really bad for you. Here’s the picture painted as it relates to regular soda: six teaspoons of sugar in a bottle. Who eats six teaspoons of sugar at one sitting? You’d never do it, but we’ll drink that bottle of pop with great satisfaction. True, your favorite diet soda is minus the sugar, but apparently the sugarless soda fools us into craving sweets which, of course, are loaded with sugar. The moral of the story is to stay away from soda whenever possible. Water is good; boring, but good.
Now visualize your dinner plate. You should divide your plate into 4 pieces. Fifty percent should be occupied by fruits and vegetables. If you error on this side of the plate, do it with vegetables (less sugar); so think 70-30. Before we cross over to the other side of the plate, here’s a word to the wise: make those veggies bright and colorful – they’re the best and most nutritious. If you’re not a veggie person, you’re hosed. By the way, potatoes are not a vegetable.
The other side of the plate has a meat/fish dish that is the size of a deck of cards. The rule of thumb is six ounces, and fish should occupy the plate at least twice per week. How far away from this are you? In my house, six ounces of meat is considered an appetizer. And six ounces of fish is called a “stick.”
Grains occupy the other quarter of the plate. It must have “whole” in the name, or you’re fooling yourself. Plus, whatever is white is not good. Everything in the grain category should be brown. As best I can tell, all this fiber is key to a successful diet and operates in direct relation to the number of bathroom visits one must take. Again, Americans are woefully short in our fiber consumption. We should be eating somewhere around 25-35%. Our average is 6%. UGH!
So, in conclusion, good luck! For those of you who have horrible eating habits and have little regard for the above, you could be staring at some problems down the road. If you’re into pizza, ice cream, potato chips, chicken wings, chili dogs, burgers stacked high smothered in cheese, french fries, doughnuts and cake, the end game is ugly – to say nothing for your waistline!