Part 5 of a series on beating obesity
Before diving into the world of fine-tuning a diet let’s start with a look at the big food picture. That involves two basic elements, which are quantity and quality. Quantity is the easiest because clearly all things being equal when you eat less you will gradually begin to weigh less.
Quality is a much broader spectrum of consideration. Things such as nutritional values, organic versus non-organic, freshness and for a few folks the preferred absence of gluten all play a role in our food selection and consumption. But for now I am only going to consider two basic things, quantity and three nutritional elements.
Quantity is really simple; eat less. Start with the easiest so that for example if you really feel the need to eat pancakes for breakfast eat two rather than your usual three or more. If you feel the need to grab a burger at a fast food restaurant make it the regular size and not the super-size. And if you really must have those fries, make it a small order rather than the gigantic order.
Now truth be told every one of the foods mentioned here should actually be virtually eliminated from your diet. But I am a realist and I understand that we are all creatures of habit. So as we move towards improving some of those habits at the very least start right by consuming just a little less of whatever food you do choose to eat.
The other broad stroke in this discussion is a commitment to the greatest extent possible to avoid salt, sugar and fat from our diets. Totally eliminating salt, fat and sugar is an impossibility and actually a potential health risk. But because fat, sugar and salt are so prevalent in our foods these days, by focusing on their elimination from our consumption we will significantly reduce their intake and in so doing substantially improve your overall diet.
Yes indeed some fats are even beneficial and it is well nigh impossible to avoid all fat. But by focusing on the notion of eliminating fat in general we can improve the quality of what we do eat. Just keep reminding yourself that we are what we eat. So eat lots of fat and — Yep you got it.
Sugar tastes great but it also is a major contributor to the development of Type 2 diabetes and that is a disease you really don’t want. Also sugar is found in darn near everything we put in our mouths. Yes carrots have sugar, but at least it is not refined sugar.
There is, however, plenty of refined sugar in cakes, donuts, pies, energy drinks and so-called energy bars aka candy bars. Because sugar is so prevalent, completely eliminating it from our diet is impossible, but by focusing on the concept of eliminating sugar we can significantly reduce its consumption to safe and healthy levels. So we put sugar on the “do not eat” list knowing full well it cannot and really should not be completely eliminated but we must and we can significantly reduce the amount we consume every day.
Ah then there is salt aka sodium chloride. Do not be fooled by all of the marketing hype. Himalayan salt and sea salt and plain old Morton’s salt are all simply salt. Salt is a significant contributor to the development and advancement of hypertension or high blood pressure. Elevate your blood pressure enough and your risk of stroke and heart attack jumps to frightening levels.
But as with sugar and fat, getting rid of all salt from our diet is impossible. Almost everything contains some amount of salt. Typically the amount of salt we add with the salt shaker isn’t even the greatest source; the greatest source comes from processed foods.
One good example is the comparison of fresh beets, one of the world’s healthiest foods, with canned beets. Fresh beets contain approximately 106mg of sodium per typical serving while canned beets jump the sodium level to 157mg. But now look at these numbers. Just 1 ounce of summer sausage has 420mg of sodium and 1 medium sized pickle has a whopping 785mg of sodium.
Our bodies do require some sodium chloride but not more than 200mg typically. And the general opinion is that consuming 1500mg or less a day is okay. So even by that standard eat two pickles and you are done for the day with sodium, but since you can’t live on only two pickles a day and virtually all food contains sodium what do you do? What you do is approach each day with the notion of reducing as much as possible your sodium consumption. To do this you must read the labels and take note.
Step one in making a positive change in our dietary habits is to focus on eliminating sugar, salt and fat. You will never completely achieve that goal and you don’t really want to, but by taking this approach what you will do is reduce your consumption of these three potentially deadly elements to safe levels.
You can, at any time, get your very own copy of my true and real guide to effective and permanent weight loss, Lose Live available at lulu.com, amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. Just be sure to keep checking in right here for regular updates. And if you have a question or comment for me please send your email to: email@example.com
Copyright © 2016 Ron Irwin
Ron Irwin was born in Chicago, Illinois a long time ago. He served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, became a trial lawyer, TV and radio host, CEO of a public company and once held an Emmy. He never won an Emmy he just held one. Ron has written and published twelve books. His most important book to date is “Live, Die, Live Again” in which Ron tells of his early life and his unexpected and very temporary death in 2012. That experience dramatically refocused his life and within the pages of that book Ron reveals how he achieved a much healthier life, ridding himself of Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Failure. Now Ron enjoys writing about many things including health topics, travel [he has circled the globe several times], adventure, culinary experiences and the world of performing art. Ron’s motto is “Live better, live longer and live stronger because it feels great and annoys others.” Contact the author.