Eating food is something that we all do. We do it everyday. We, for the most part, eat at least three times a day. The most common meals for Americans are breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Other meals, but not so common, include brunch, fourth meal, and the “oh so common” midnight snack creep their way into our diets as well. And as Americans it is no doubt that we are in fact not missing very many meals. Just look at us; we are fat. With a staggering number of nearly 66% of Americans ages 22 and over being considered overweight or obsess (there is a fine line between the two) we are more in risk than ever. Just take a look around you and you will see; we are a fat society, plain and simple.
But there is hope. Of course there is hope. But there must be will power as well. You will not drop pounds unless you put effort into your diet as well as your exercise routine. (Did I shock some of you out there with that one? Yes, you will have to exercise to loose weight. It does not just happen by eating less. Although eating less is something that I will touch on with you here today.)
I recently came across an article in GQ Magazine that discussed what it is going to take to get off your ass and loose some of that weight. From personal experience (and I am not even that fat) it can have a great affect on simple things from riding a bike to even walking up and down stairs. But the more we eat and the more we refuse to jump on the exercise band wagon, the fatter we get and the harder it becomes to loose that weight that we have been storing for so many years.
But like I said, there is hope for all of you fatties out there. Let me explain to you some of the things this wonderful article discussed.
*The premise of this article is not necessarily about counting calories. Other than the fact that it is nearly impossible to do on a regular basis, it does not always come down to the calories that you intake rather than the ones that are either good or bad for you. This set of rules, five in total, are what claim to be the cure all to this ongoing issue. So before you sit there and think that this I just like every other fad diet out there, know that this is more about debunking the calorie counters and offering new, more suitable solutions to that beer belly.
1. Recognize the need to start reducing now.
This might seem cliché, but it is really one of the most important steps of them all. First off, you have to realize that you have a problem. You know all of the TV shows and movies that preach the first step to having a problem is admitting that you have a problem. Well, you might not think you have a problem, but if you have ever said, “I look fat in this,” or, “Can I get a diet cola with that, I am trying to watch my figure,” then you have a problem. Even if you only want to loose ten pounds, admit it and realize that you have to start somewhere. Every journey, every battle, every mile begins with just one step.
Besides the fact that your physical appearance is being affected, things such as diabetes and heart disease are linked to obesity. And the bad thing about being overweight is that the older you get, the harder it becomes to get to the dream body you once wished you had. The older you get, the more your body begins to accept the fact you truly are the way you are and your metabolism will soon begin to match your size.
2. Learn about portions.
The average American, on a daily basis, will consume some 500 more calories than he or she needs to maintain the weight in which he or she desires. The main reason for this is because of portions. For example, tomorrow, when you pour yourself a big bowl of cereal, measure out the scoops. You will notice that what you once thought was a single serving of granola was in fact upwards of two or three servings. So, that bowl of cereal that claims to have 150 calories per serving in it just jumped to 450 (or more) calories. Then, including the milk that goes on top of it (unless it is skim milk) you are at a breakfast of nearly 600+ calories before you even leave the house. (The average diet should consist of anywhere between 1800-2500 calories a day. This includes all sides, toppings, condiments, and beverages. And as far as beverages go, those do in fact add up.)
Of course, that does not apply to everyone. Your calorie intake is based on a lot of factors, such as your height, your weight, your age, and so forth. But, the serving size never changes. And the bad thing about America is that we enjoy our treats as big as they come. Try walking into a grocery store and looking through the candy aisle, or the cereal aisle, or even the frozen foods section and not see a package that says, “Now with 55% More,” or something to this nature. We like things big here in America. (And I was just in Texas and was saddened. Everything is in fact NOT bigger in Texas. That is just an old wives tale.)
Look at the numbers from countries like France. For example, their soft drinks average 52% smaller than ours. Candy bars are 42% smaller and their hot dogs 63% smaller. We have simply grown custom to these portions. (If it makes you feel any better, and you are already fat (or big for those with tender hearts) then do not feel bad if you are eating more than the guy beside you. Larger people need to eat more food to continue with their current body weight. If you go out to dinner with Shaq expect him to get a bigger steak than you. It is jus the nature of the beast, so to speak.
3. Eat as much as you want of these foods.
That will make any fat boy smile. But do not get excited if you like “good” food as this is not the list for you. By making these simple substances a part of your daily intake you will become full much sooner and will not be eating as many calories in the mean time. Sure, having fewer calories might not pack as much energy, but it will fill you up just the same and is not as bad for you as the double cheese burger you had for lunch yesterday.
*I personally feel that food is a comfort thing. And no, I do not mean comfort like “my boyfriend just left me and the only thing that makes me feel better is a half gallon of double chocolate brownie fudge ice cream.” I am talking about the hand to mouth comfort. This is similar to people who smoke. I do not think that smoking is necessarily addictive, but the concept of lighting, lifting, and placing something between your lips brings a certain level of comfort to those who do it and this then becomes addictive.
For example, think about the last time you had a Snickers bar. To get the same number of calories that you took in while enjoying that candy bar you would have to consume four naval oranges. By the time that you got through the first or second orange you would be so over the process you would just give up and move on to whatever you were doing. Similar to when I eat crab legs. The amount off effort that I have to put into getting them out of their shells is usually just not worth it.
So when I say something like, “Oh, you can have as much as this as you want,” the main ingredients on that list are fruits and veggies. A good rule of thumb is that you can never go wrong with eating fruits or veggies.
4. Keep it simple.
There are so many fads going around right now that it could make your head spin. What is the latest diet right now? I cannot even tell you there are so many. Is it the Atkins? Or maybe it was the Mediterranean one. Oh wait, is it the South Beach diet? Hell, I don’t know. By the time you figure out the latest fad on the diet scene something else will come around and take it’s place. (My dad did lost a lot of weight on the Atkins diet. However, when he stopped the diet he put on weight at a much higher rate than before he had started the diet.)
The thing about these diets, outside of the fact that it is nearly impossible to keep them straight let along follow them on a daily basis, is that you still need to make cutbacks along the way. If you are sold on one of these miracle diets, then go for it, but begin taking steps at the dinner table on your portion size as well. I just would hate for you to get to your dream weight only to gain all of that back when you start eating bread again.
5. It’s okay to indulge; every once and a while.
With all of this trouble trying to watch your weight you are going to slip up. I will almost guarantee that you will slip up along the way. You will cave into a big plate of nachos or a big juicy steak burger. I mean, Steak N’ Shake is open 24 hours for a reason. But that is OK. According to research studies done at places like Harvard and Yale (those are Ivy League you know) you are not expected to go all at once. You are allowed, and actually encouraged to slip up every now and then.
But the thing to remember is that with this new healthier diet and these changes to your daily intake is that it is not a simple, nor should be treated as, a temporary fix. These changes are a lifestyle change. You will be eating better, feeling better, and living longer. The proof is in the pudding. (No, you are not allowed to eat pudding on whatever diet you are on.)
With all of this information I hope to have debunked a lot of the myths about dieting. Sure, they will not work for all of you out there, and they might not even work for me, but they have worked for someone to inspire such an incredible article. But if you are worried about your health, your weight, and your future, then now is the time to make a change. Make it for the right reasons and show that cheeseburger who the boss is. You won’t regret it. Plus, nothing beats a nice big bowl of pineapple and watermelon on a hot summer day. Try it, you just might like it.