Tag Archives: diet

The key to losing weight – the mindless margin

In writing the last post on WordPress development, I came across an interesting lesson on food. Here is Matt Mullenweg on the book, Mindless Eating:

“It’s not actually a book about food, it’s a book about people. About the human condition and human behaviors. I love food because it’s intrinsic to the human experience, it brings us all together. What Brian talks about in the book is the mindless margin. Most people who overeat don’t overeat by a lot. They overeat by about a 100 calories/day.

We’re talking about a cookie here, 1/6th of a Snickers bar. 100 calories/day over a year adds up to 10 lbs.

On the other end, less 100 calories a day is below the threshold for what many people notice. Over the course of a year it can cause a 10 lb weight loss.

This is what I thought of when researching WordPress development.”

 

I have not read the book but the idea is something I practice. In my daily habits I try to extend the time between meals and eat a bit less. If I can say no to even the tiniest amount then I feel like a conqueror, knowing I am losing some weight. It also reminds me I will eat again so no need to overload on this meal.

I think it’s those tiny, daily victories that make a big difference in weight loss. Again, from Mindless Eating, this time from Wikipedia:

The encouraging premise behind Mindless Eating is that the obesigenic environment that people have set up for themselves in their homes and at work can be reversed. Just as this environment has led many people to slowly gain weight, it can be re-engineered to help them mindlessly lose weight. Consuming 200 fewer calories a day would lead a person to weigh approximately 9 kilograms (20 lbs) less in a year than they otherwise would. The first sentence and the last sentence of the book are, “The best diet is the one you don’t know you’re on.”

Instead of deprivation dieting, Mindless Eating recommends a person choose three small changes in their environment that would lead them to eat 200-300 fewer calories a day.

 

I’ve already mentioned two of my small changes, extending periods between meals and eating a small amount less, and the third would be learning to only eat when I’m hungry. This means skipping the urge to snack in between meals. I think of it like this, “if I’m craving chocolate am I also craving a vegetable? If no, then I should wait until I’m craving the vegetable.” Every time I do so it works. The craving goes away and I eat proper food later when I’m truly hungry.

What about you, do you have any tips for small changes?

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Is it possible to only shop at farmers markets?

With so many benefits to shopping at farmers markets, is it possible skip supermarkets altogether and only shop at farmers markets?

It is, and I have been doing so for 3 years. I remember thinking that I couldn’t possibly find everything I needed. Maybe one meal’s worth, but all three? everyday?

Yep, it’s possible and the benefits are extraordinary. I spend less money, eat much better, my health is actually improving (I’m losing the fat!), and I have become part of a community. I know my bread-lady, meat-man, old-school Italian (he says to me: “hello-uh big-uh boy”), the avocado savant, and even a Mexican cactus farmer.

The variety of foods at the farmers market is quite deep, so deep that it will take you months to explore all of them. There is no lack of possibilities for feeding yourself. This makes three meals a day easy. The only snag is that while you know how to make Mac n’ Cheese, you probably don’t know what to do with Chard. There is a learning curve but most people seem to enjoy that part of it.

Next, is cost. If you compare, item to item, the food at the farmers market is more expensive than the supermarkets. But, if you compare value (i.e. nutrition) then the farmers market is an extreme bargain.

The easiest way to explain this is think of foods considered to be of very little nutritional value, like popcorn. You can eat a whole jumbo popcorn and still feel hungry. Popcorn is food and a vegetable but it doesn’t contain enough of the vitamins and essential nutrients our bodies need. Yet, it is extremely cheap to buy at the supermarket. Think of farmers markets as the exact opposite. The foods sold there are designed to be jam-packed with vitamins and essential nutrients. So much so, that you get full really quickly. I often find myself eating half of what I used, sometimes one-fourth.

When you’re buying half as much as you used to, or even one-fourth, the amount you spend drops pretty fast. This is hardest part for folks to understand. Always at the farmers market I see people shocked at the prices and I just want to stop them and say “it’s quality not quantity.”

That is especially true when it comes to our health. When you put less food in your body, you lose weight. When you put higher quality food in your body, your health improves. Oh, and higher quality food tastes better too. I could talk for hours about the impact this has on how I look, but suffice it to say, I’m in the best shape of my life.

Depending on the size of your local farmers market, there are some things you won’t be able to find. Coffee is the most obvious one, so is chocolate and tea. For specialty items like these I shop at my local health store. They tend to stock higher quality, more nutritious products (though nowhere near the quality at the farmers market).

Lastly, is the winter stores. There are still plenty of things to buy during the winter, even in especially cold regions. In fact, a large part of French and German cooking is about cooking things sold only in the winter (French Onion Soup, mmm!). But, sometimes you just want a tasty watermelon or juicy pear in January. This is easily solved by creating your winter stores. Buy your favorites at the farmers market when they are going out of season and on sale for steep discounts. Cut them up into squares, freeze them, and don’t let anyone touch until the depths of winter.

These are the important things to know when making the switch to an all farmers market diet. Everything else you can learn at the market, from buyers and farmers. You can ask them anything, about quality or how to cook, and they will answer. That’s why they sell at the market and not the supermarket. They’re part of the rising sub-culture dedicated to ideal health and amazing food. Go ahead, make the switch and see what happens!

 

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NFL moves toward slimmer players, former players explore healthy eating

There is a new trend in the NFL, slimming down those plump players. After years of super-sizing lineman with each team stocking a dozen 300 pound players, speed and agility is starting to get wins.

The stars in the NFL last year were at much healthier weights in the mid-200 pound range. Players with a height of 6 feet go from weighing 340 to 270 pounds, and some new draftees are even making a difference at 220 or 230 pounds.

Trevor Pryce, who played in the NFL for 14 years and was one of those 300 pounders, discusses this in the N.Y. Times. He recognizes the change as turning players into specialists, asked to perform specific roles for only a few plays:

Those 260-pound run-stoppers were suddenly asked to learn how to line up with their hand on the ground and rush the quarterback, and linebackers became 225-pound hybrids who could run with wide receivers, blitz when asked and make the occasional tackle on a running play.

 

Not really on-topic for this blog but I felt like it was good news. Maybe the slimming down of the NFL to healthier weights could inspire a trend among the rest of us.

Here is another article from Grantland, where many of those players share their tips and experience trying to lose weight:

The common threads between the players who successfully shed weight are motivation, momentum, and reachable goals that are determined by rigid rules. Damien Woody’s faith is now in what he calls his “hand rule.” If a meal portion does not fit in his palm, it does not go in his mouth.

In the morning, he eats proteins and carbohydrates for the energy to sustain him through two daily workouts. As the day wears on, he eats more proteins than carbohydrates. Water is his beverage of choice.

 

#200PoundsIsBig

#SlimFL

#HealthyNFL

#NFLDiet

 

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Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid

Imagine this for a food pyramid – topped off by dark chocolate and red wine, dairy nowhere to be seen, and fruits/vegetables as the foundation.

 

(drweil.com)

 

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Top 4 ways Americans lose weight – exercise, eat less, portion control, & natural foods

Trying to lose weight is something most Americans can identify with. Two-thirds say they have made a serious effort to lose weight at least once in their life, including 25% saying they tried once or twice, 30% trying between 3 and 10 times, and 8% trying more than 10 times.

The 52% of all U.S. adults who say they have succeeded at losing weight at some point in their lives were more likely to credit dietary changes than exercise.

The top three diet-related tactics Americans said they used were eating less, counting calories/portion control, and eating more natural foods. In terms of those who relied on exercise, just working out in general was the most frequently mentioned form of activity.

Working out/exercising is the dominant exercise-related response, but 5% specifically credit walking and 3% running or jogging.

via Gallup and Thrive

And, what are the most effective strategies for those losing weight?

31% – Worked out/exercised
23% - Ate Less/Dieted
12% – Counted calories/portion control
10% – Ate more natural foods

While I respect all of these methods, especially portion control, I have to wonder when “natural foods” will make it higher on the list?

To me it is the most important factor in weight gain/loss at it is the fuel you put in your body. It provides the energy to exercise, the desire to eat less, and the improved health that supports long-term weight loss.

Top 4 ways Americans lose weight – exercise, eat less, portion control, & natural foods

Trying to lose weight is something most Americans can identify with. Two-thirds say they have made a serious effort to lose weight at least once in their life, including 25% saying they tried once or twice, 30% trying between 3 and 10 times, and 8% trying more than 10 times.

The 52% of all U.S. adults who say they have succeeded at losing weight at some point in their lives were more likely to credit dietary changes than exercise.

The top three diet-related tactics Americans said they used were eating less, counting calories/portion control, and eating more natural foods. In terms of those who relied on exercise, just working out in general was the most frequently mentioned form of activity.

Working out/exercising is the dominant exercise-related response, but 5% specifically credit walking and 3% running or jogging.

via Gallup and Thrive

And, what are the most effective strategies for those losing weight?

31% – Worked out/exercised
23% - Ate Less/Dieted
12% – Counted calories/portion control
10% – Ate more natural foods

While I respect all of these methods, especially portion control, I have to wonder when “natural foods” will make it higher on the list?

To me it is the most important factor in weight gain/loss at it is the fuel you put in your body. It provides the energy to exercise, the desire to eat less, and the improved health that supports long-term weight loss.

A note on salads

I have been agitating for a while that supermarkets sell the worst kind of food. I even go so far as to say that everything they sell makes you fat.

Which consistently causes folks to disagree with me, after all 98% of Americans buy their food from them.

But, that means they have a complete monopoly on our food system, and with our health in their hands, the US obesity rate is skyrocketing to unheard-of levels.

In the fast food industry, a recent report states that Subway is now the worlds largest fast food chain, displacing McDonalds. There is also a booming salad industry with an explosion of salad fast food chains.

Perhaps the fast food industry will save us?

Well, remember the cliche: “I’m on a diet so please give me a Diet Coke instead of a Coke.”

I think that fits as an analogy here.

Just saying you’re eating a salad doesn’t mean you are eating well. One could skip the hamburger for the salad then load it up with dressing and fried chicken. A report from ABC’s Good Morning America, points out that in many cases the salad is equally fatty or worse.

They point out that iceberg lettuce, which accounts for much of the salad, has “zero nutrients and zero fiber.”

Which is where I draw the line.

The story is all wrong. Yes, iceberg lettuce can be at zero, but so can everything else we eat. Let’s not take an entire crop and label it as useless.

Instead we should understand the nature of food. First and foremost, quality is the most important aspect of food and not all are created equal. Or, put another way, vegetables that are grown from quality seeds and harvested when ripe are densely filled with nutrients.

But, if you buy vegetables from a supermarket or fast food chain, you are not getting this. Instead, you are purchasing the cheapest food money can buy. Which means they are harvested before they are ripe and grown from the cheapest seeds.

There’s more. A growing number of items, like tomatoes and strawberries, have been modified to produce extra sugars. Added together you have produce practically empty of nutrients but with extra sugar.

Fantastic.

Even if you choose the best supermarkets have to offer, you skip the dressing, choose a lean meat, and all that…then the best you can do is “the cheapest food money can buy.”

A lot like choosing the Diet Coke.

If you’re new to this, here a good way to think about it.

Take the typical supermarket salad and cut it in half. That should be your portion size when eating high quality food. It should make you feel full and it should be delicious.

The reason for this is the dense amount of nutrients in the food which also makes it taste much better. Decrease the amount of nutrients and you will increase the amount you eat. It’s as simple as that.

Now, how long do you think it will take for 2/3 of America to understand this?

Sometimes you can spot the tomatoes that are "densely packed with nutrients"

photos

salad by catsper

tomatoes by clayirving