Sunday, March 04, 2007

Kicking the Sugar Habit

24 hour fitness started the year with a $55 special - lose 5 pounds in 5 weeks. The personal trainer said most people have dropped out after realizing that they had actually had to exercise and change their diet to make it happen. Most did not lose more than 1-2 pounds which they immediately put back on. March finds the gym much emptier, which is great for the rest of us. I was at Borders yesterday and gasped at the 2 full bookcases full of diet, nutrition and weight loss books. I skimmed through a few which left my mind whirling-what to believe? ... eat carbs, eliminate carbs, eat meat, no meat. Reading some would have you running to the top of a mountain and jumping off-for some would have you believe there is nothing good in any of the foods we eat-chemicals, antibiotics, additives, sugar, preservatives-oh my! The only solution is to grow it all yourself and raise your animals too.

I have developed tremendous sympathy for all of the overweight people in America, as in the past month, I have come to realize that losing weight is harder than just about anything you will attempt to do-harder than learning to ride a bicycle, learning to drive, learning to knit! It is about on par with learning to play piano and learning a foreigh language---it takes more dedication, will power, and motivation than the average person can remain committed to. Far from being a 1-2 week commitment, weight loss requires a total change in lifestyle for a long, long time. Worse thing is, most people don't event realize what is making them fat. The culprit--our American diet. Our portions are gigantic, our boxed and bottled foods full of sugar, and our favorite foods high in fat.

At a recent dinner party, the conversation turned to the morbid subject of aging and nursing homes. The comment was made that at a recent visit to a retirement home, they were shocked to find an absence of males. Where were the men, they said? I was shocked to realize that we, as wonderful nurturing wives, are causing the demise of our wonderful husbands with the foods we put on the table each day. Sexist as it may sound, it is we that buy the groceries, prepare their favorite meals, and smile with happiness as they enjoy dinner each day, and the lovely baked goods for dessert.

About a month ago, I realized that my so called diet was not working-the love handles were as solidly implanted as cast iron.
What could be wrong-I no longer ate fatty foods or bakery sweets and other than working, I was exercising. The scale refused to budge. I decided to take drastic means to jump start my body and went back on the South Beach Diet. I couldnt' stand to do phase 1 for more than 5 days-deprivation is mentally painful! Most importantly, what it did was to force me to read labels and shocks you into realizing what terrible things we Americans consume. The Costco diet is killing most Americans. There is virtually nothing good that comes out of a bottle, jar or box. The sugar content of most processed foods is so high that it is near to impossible to maintain a healthy weight. Most troubling is that our nation's children are being raised on a sugar high. It is no wonder that so many have health and behavioral issues.

I have since moved on to a modified phase 2 of this diet. Paying attention to the glycemic load of foods is a good guide ot healthy eating:
If you really want to get into it, here is a list of 750 common foods.
A glycemic load of 1-10 is low, 11-19 medium and over 20 is high. it is important to look at the fat content of prepared foods in addition to the glycemic load and eat in moderation. Basically, natural foods (not processed) are much lower in GI and GL.

We feel detoxed-after a month without added sugars, we've lost our cravings for sweets. I've lost 4 pounds and Ray, the bugger has lost 10. Our diet consists of all fresh and natural foods-lean meat, fish, tons of fresh vegetables, whole grain breads, brown rice, nuts, low fat cheese, skim milk, and fresh fruit. With all the vegetables and whole grains, I have found that I don't require as much food. I am strict about a "fist size" portion of meats and no limit on veggies. Interestingly enough, I realized that I am cooking chinese food every night. As the weeks go on, I am developing new dishes to cook and it no longer feels like diet foods. I have developed a version of squash soup and spinach soup made totally without cream. I take about 6 fistfuls of spinach, or a squash, boil it lightly in just enough water to keep it from drying out. Puree the spinach or squash in its own water and return to the pan. Add chicken broth to thin it and add lots of chopped garlic, dill, parsley and curry powder. It is a delicious superfood!
Recipe 2-shell large shrimp and mix with curry paste, a bit of chutney, green onions, garlic and a little bit of oil. Pan fry until browned. Brown onions in the pan and return shrimp to the pan, mix.
Recipe 3- Sugar pods or pea pods are wonderful sauteed with garlic. Put in a hot pan with a bit of oil, sautee and add a few tablespoons of water, Keep sauteeing until bright green and crispy.

The second part of this weight loss plan is exercise. Heidi is getting to be in good shape as we run 3 miles a day together in the morning, or do fitness walks after work using downtown as a track.

Bad part of this plan is that it is hard to have a social life. What does one eat when invited to someone's home? I like the ideas given to me of a "binge meal" once a week, being really low cal and healthy the rest of the day to make up for it. You learn not to waste those calories! I won't eat a pizza unless it is a really good pizza!

In conclusion, I am still convinced that losing weight is almost impossible for many people. I look in the shopping carts of others at Costco-the huge boxes of prepared foods, big jugs of juice, and the other day-the biggest round chocolate cake I have ever seen! The foods we think are healthy are really not-have you ever read the glycemic content of granola, or sweetened whole grain cereal? How about salad dressing, Ragu spaghetti sauce, or a plain bagel? It appears that the US needs to make a concerted effort to educate our citizens because the current trend is not a pretty one.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home