Monday, January 5, 2009

Food is a Weighty Subject! The best diet book you never have to read.

Since it is the time of year when one ponders with great intentions on their potential New Years Resolutions I thought this a good time to talk about weight loss or gain. I have been keeping a daily exercise (extra calories burned) and weight chart since 2002. I find it very motivating as well as incredibly instructive as to the food/exercise balance. Since I eat pretty consistently 3 meals a day of yummy stuff I can pretty well look at my exercise level and see weight gain or loss. If I don't do an extra 5000 calories a week I gain weight - if I burn more than that I lose weight.

Basically, over time weight gain or loss is determined by one thing: The number of calories consumed vs. number of calories burned by your body. It makes not one whit of difference if you eat nothing but ice cream or a low fat diet. As long as you consume less calories than you burn you will lose weight and if you consume more than you burn you will gain weight. If the average American adult has 3500 calorie imbalance over any time period you will gain or lose 1 pound of fat. In other words if you burn 100 calories a day more than you take in for a year that is a 3650 calorie imbalance which will result in just over a 10 pound weight loss.

So, here is your diet book. It has 2 alternative diets. On the "consume less and do nothing diet" you will be starving, miserable, unhealthy, grouchy, have no energy, and probably gain weight anyway. On the "exercise more diet" you will be happy, eat what you want, improve your health, and longevity, and probably lose weight.

People ask me a lot after eating with me how I stay thin. Well, my daily chart tells the story. Over the year 2008 I rode the exercise bike for an average of 50 minutes a day (that was 302 days times 50 minutes) - which burned an extra 162,000 calories. I also took a 50 minute walk with my dog about the same number of days for an additional 90,000 calories - TOTAL EXTRA CALORIES BURNED - 252,000 or 72 lbs. In 2008 my average weight was 182.5 lbs exactly the same as 2007. If I had not done that exercising would now weigh over 255 lbs.
Need I say more.

Maybe you don't have 2 hours a day to exercise but if you make an hour you will have a much longer, happier, healthier life. Maintaining a healthy weight in America today is virtually impossible by diet alone. You just have to figure out how to get more exercise - A LOT MORE EXERCISE.

There are a few neat tricks to be learned from my favorite eating culture - the French - that I try to incorporate into our eating habits. Here are a two neat ideas to cut down on the calories without "dieting".

1. Use smaller dinner plates and other dish's. I know this sounds stupid but it has been proven scientifically that you will consume at least 100 calories a day (that 10 lbs a year folks) less while feeling just as full by using smaller plates. Your mind determines when you are full not your stomach. If you get a "full" plate of food you will be satisfied. The average dinner plate size in America is literally 25%bigger than a french dinner plate I kid you not. Get some 8-9 inch dinner plates and correspondingly smaller bowls, salad plates, etc.

2. Learn to drink water and wine instead of soft drinks and juices. Most Americans consume up to half their calories in liquids. We drink unsweet tea, coffee, ice water, and wine. we almost never drink soda or juice- yes unfortunately juice is very calorie heavy - eat fruit instead. This one is easily worth 10 lbs a year as well for the average person.

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