Our fast food nation has created a new problem in a world of old hurt. Let’s say you’re overweight, or maybe you just want to lose that last stubborn five pounds. Conventional wisdom says “Eat Less and Exercise More!” So you join a gym, walk the dog, or bust out the old workout dvds and start dieting. But a few hours into your new venture you realize that for the average person, the average person who doesn’t work out of the home or isn’t unemployed – eating well is hard. There’s seemingly no such thing any more as the corner cafe. Fast food is what’s available within a 5 mile radius of where I work.
I wouldn’t be telling you anything you don’t know if I told you fast food is too salty, too fatty and basically devoid of nutritional value. If you gave up on soda the rest of your life, yes, even diet soda, your body wouldn’t miss it. But what you MAY not know is why you’re still hungry after all those calories. That fiberless white bread can’t give you the feel-full feeling; it won’t satisfy. Ok, ok, so maybe you try to be good. You pack a salad with dressing on the side, but when you smell the aroma of fast food wafting through the air all is lost!
Well here’s a funny little weight loss secret you may not hear from anywhere else: eating fast food in addition to your salad is probably better than just eating the fast food. Eat the salad first and you may not crave as much fast food as you used to – maybe a smaller version of fries is a reasonable place to start. Eating real food will at least give your hungry starving body the nutrition it craves. When all you eat is fast food you’ve done filled yourself with 2 to 3 thousand calories, calories that didn’t include any Omega-3, nor calcium, nor fiber. Yikes!
Here’s another simple, easy to follow diet tip: don’t eat anything you didn’t make yourself, other than that – eat what you like! If you’ve been confused in the past by fads, changing medical advice, and you don’t want to count calories this is the best way to go. Eat cookies if you want, but make them from scratch – no Pillsbury slice and bake, no frozen bread dough. Drink alcohol in moderation. Make your soup without seasoning packets – just learn how to cook! Not only is it not hard, it’s fun.
Personally I love cooking so much I used to make my own dog’s food. What does a dog eat? A grand stew of ground meat, veggies, spices over rice. If you add garlic into the mix the insects won’t bite her. If you add rosemary the dog will smell better. If you want to go full yogi you’ll appreciate the meditation of chopping vegetables and boiling water. Once you get the hang making dog food you can easily segue into feeding yourself. Baking your own pizza doesn’t take any longer than ordering one. It takes about 20 minutes to throw together the dough and 14 to bake. It will taste as good as the ingredients you use! I’ll tell you what, the kind of stuff I put on my homemade pizza is loads better tasting than what you get from a delivery place.
I met a mother once who thought homemade pizza meant buying the crust from the super market. Yikes! Don’t do that! Homemade food does not equal taking a bunch of prepackaged stuff and re-distributing it! So stop with the Oreo cookie crust and the Ritz cracker mock-apple pie. Even Bisquick doesn’t have to be in your kitchen. Some of the most ubiquitous products are some of the simplest to make: chicken stock? Boil the bones! Lemonade? It’s lemon juice, water and sugar! Bisquick? It’s flour, salt and leavening! So yes, you can do this, you can learn how to feed yourself and NOT feel hungry when you’re done.
1) Eat low on the food chain
Grains like oatmeal or rice are both cheap and filling and healthy!
2) Eat low on the process chain
A pound of real potatoes are cheaper and more nutritious, and more filling than a pound of french fries or a pound of chips
3) Eat low on the ingredient chain
A boiled egg is less commitment than Eggs Benedict, it’s also less time consuming to prepare, less calories and more likely you can make it correctly!
4) Do one thing at a time
You’ll eat less if you’re not driving, or watching TV, or trying to finish that last report while you’re eating. Eat when you’re eating. Eat mindfully
5) Stop while you’re still hungry
If you can keep yourself at 3/4 full for the first 40 days of your new life, you’ll likely start to adjust to eating less. Don’t wait until you are ravenous – eat whenever you want, and stop short of being stuffed.
6) Always eat the best of what ever you buy
If you must eat a hotdog, buy an awesome one! Not only will you have to get less of them because they will be prohibitively expensive, but they’ll be better for you. If your family gives you flak about shopping at the Farmers’ Market remind yourself that nothing is more important than feeling comfortable in your body. You’ll pay in other ways down the road if you fuel inefficiently.
7) Be fearless
It takes courage to change your life. Frankly, your family and friends may not be behind you on this one. Much as your spouse pretends they don’t like the love handles – they may like that no one else is looking’ at you. They may like how easily you concede because you feel disappointed in yourself – and the NEW you, the fit, funny and fearless one – might scare people.
I give you permission to succeed. There you have it!
8) Drink less alcohol
Out in the wild elephants drink only on occasion, only when they stumble upon a cache of fermented fruit. Take a lesson from these wrinkly wise creatures – they may be large but they’re rarely overweight!
Find Peace through Strength!