“Wow! That’s a lot of weight! How did you did it?” people ask. (Insert expectant face of a child on Christmas Eve.)
“I kept a food diary, ate more vegetables, less processed food, less starch and started exercising,” I reply. (Insert face of the same child on Christmas morning having received only underwear.)
People are so disappointed when I tell them how I lost weight. Everyone wants a get-thin-quick story, a magic bullet, some miracle drug or powder. Sorry. Ain’t happening. You’re reading this; so, you have some sense which means that you know that a diet of pizza, hamburgers, fries and candy is going to make you fat.
When I was in grade school, the recommended food servings were 4-4-3-2, four servings of fruit & vegetables, four of grains, three of dairy and two of meat. There was a television show called Mulligan Stew that actually sang songs about it. (Don’t laugh! We ate that stuff up!) The USDA guidelines have changed and, honestly, I don’t understand them now. Everything is a percentage. Um. Hello? I do plan my food loosely, but math isn’t my thing and to break it down to percentages? To quote Miss Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
Most of us are too busy living our lives!
Even so, we don’t get a free pass. We know what we ought to be eating. We know that crash diets don’t work for most people. We know that chemical diet aids often artificially accelerate the metabolism, sometimes damaging the heart. We know that we can’t shake something onto our ice cream and lose weight. We know all of this; but, we want to believe the hype … so we do.
But our knowers know better.
Our knowers know that we have to eat more vegetables (about 75% of our plates is a good measure), less meat in general and that the meat we do eat should be leaner and less processed. They know that we need less bread, less sugar, less salt. Did you notice that I didn’t say less fat? Fat-free is the great dietary switcheroo, in my opinion. Salad dressings, crackers, cookies, chips, yogurts, whatever are touted as being better for us because they have less or even no fat. Liar, liar pants on fire! Manufacturers have to make up the lost fat flavor somewhere; so, they get it from added sugar and salt. Read the labels. Look at the calorie counts. Fat free foods aren’t doing us any good. If they were, we wouldn’t be fatter than ever and Snackwells Devils Food cookies would have won a Nobel Prize.
There’s no get-thin-quick story, magic bullet, miracle drug or powder. But we already knew that. Even if those solutions work short-term, without lifestyle changes, they won’t work long-term and, in our hearts, we know that, too.
Whole foods eaten as closely as possible to the way nature made them are the ticket. We must stay out of the middle of the grocery store where Frankenfood lives. (Except for kettle corn. Kettle corn is a gift from the gods.) We have to shop the outside edges – the produce, meat, and dairy departments, with a tiny stop at the bakery for whole grains. That’s where the nutrition is. That’s what our bodies need.
Our knowers know it and so do we.