11/1/2000 - (Welcome travelers from www.howstuffworks.com)
How I changed my diet, put my diabetes in remission, stabilized my kidney damage and changed body types in the process.
My advise is not to focus on particular recipes, but master the fundamentals of how what you eat impacts your weight. (and health!) The basic is that all of us are biological machines fueled by food. The unit of measure of food and exercise expenditure in common use in this country is the calorie. (really a Kcalorie - you may see it referred to that way.) I believe a calorie of energy raises the temperature of 1 gm of water by 1 degree or something like that. In order to maintain a particular weight, all you need to do is eat a certain number of calories. (There are some exceptions caused by grossly imbalanced diets - like the dangerous Atkins no carbo diet, but you never, ever should do anything like that.) Don’t be fooled by this “fast” metabolism vs. “slow” metabolism stuff. It is relatively insignificant. If you are a typical person, your base calories are roughly 12 times your target body weight. In my case, my target is 150. That means in order to maintain that weight, I need to net no more than 1800 calories net. If I exercise and burn more calories, I can eat more calories. My method is to keep a fuel meter – an Excel spreadsheet, and count calories both in (food) and out (exercise) to the best of my ability. Obviously, it is difficult to do when fats are cooked in foods you get in restaurants, but within the broad notion of keeping a metering method, I find simple calorie counting to be liberating. When you count calories, you begin to become more aware of where the extra calories in your diet come from that keep the extra weight on, and figure out how to morph to lower calorie foods. Part of the process is eating less fat as fats have a high by weight and by volume calorie count. For example, a cup of oil has almost 2000 calories whereas a cup of watermelon has 50! Between those extremes lie stuff like breads, which can add up quickly. Example: A typical bagel (bagel have never been made with fat) have 280 calories and some now tip the caloric scale at 350! Rice is around 230 per cup. (varies with the type) Obsess on the food scale, not your weight. Weight is solely the result of calorie consumption balance. If you stick to honing your counting abilities you will lose weight. You can’t stop it! (Ever see a fat concentration camp inmate ???) Get a good small digital food scale. (I use a cheap postal scale.) There is a great URL for calorie counters and a wonderful book - Corinne T. Netzer’s Encyclopedia of Food Values. Best overall book of sense I have read about our national problem of overweight is Michael Fumento’s The FAT of the LAND. Michael thinks calorie counting is difficult for most people, but otherwise, he pretty much reflects a cold hard realistic view of the problem and backs his words up with excellent science. Just about everything else you will read on the subject is usually a mixture of truth and the purest form of bullshit I have ever seen in my life. Fumento discusses them all. Net, net, anything that reduces your calories will reduce your weight, but doing it with a healthy sustainable diet in mind is the most important.
Here is a web site that can help:
This is a marvelous calorie reference. I use it just about every day and print out some of the reports. This database contains both weight and volume information. Recent updates make it even easier to use and apply to whatever diet you choose to eat.
Repeat the Mantra: “There is no substitute for getting your diet under control.” If the time comes to increase your calories, I can assure you that is easy to do. <smile> Establishing the control on your calorie consumption is basic to success. Note: By reducing your calories to very low levels you will lose weight faster. Every source I have read warns about going below 1200 for men as that will most likely lead to muscle loss. Of course, you need to balance your carbohydrates, protein, and do need some small amounts of healthy fats from stuff like fish and sparing consumption of nuts. (Due to my damaged kidneys, I am on a protein restricted diet limiting my total protein intake to ~55 grams a day.) My strategy is to take my fats in the form of fatty fish like salmon and carefully weighed small quantities of nuts. I rarely use cooking oils and when I do, it is in small measured quantities. I do not take calories in my beverages with the exception of some powdered chocolate in coffee from time to time. But each person’s strategy is different. You need to find your own comfort. For example, I don’t do yogurt but fat-free yogurt is good stuff that other people take as a healthy calcium rich food.
The good news is that I am living proof that even the most recalcitrant sinner can reform and live to enjoy eating as much as ever. When I started changing my diet, I never thought I would ever enjoy eating as I had in the past again. Boy, was I wrong or what?
The trick is to develop your own ways of dealing with reality. For example, there is a lady that published a great book on reduced calorie French cooking. Not my cup of tea, but she does have great stuff. (Her book won several awards.)
Needless to say, long term healthy eating habits can be the only goal. I can only repeat and repeat. YOU CAN DO IT !!!