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April 30, 2013

Combatting "Over-Fatness" with Food Choices

In my prior post, I reveal that I have managed to eke my way into the "over-fatness" category of body composition, despite having an average BMI. I have decided it is time to become serious about reforming some of my less healthy consumption and activity habits. By being more conscious about my food choices and breaking out those free weights, I'm hoping to increase my lean muscle mass.

I've been calorie counting and trimming back on the number of indulgences for about two weeks, and I've lost 2 pounds - my body fat composition has not budged a bit. Here's what I have learned (and already known for years):

1) alcohol: nothing but empty calories: 130-180 calories per 12 oz bottle - no need to eliminate a treat from my diet, just cut back to one or two a week. Craft beers, which are my preference, dark beers, and high alcohol beers pack more calories.

2) sweets: choose wisely - go for quality not quantity. Be critical about what choose to indulge in. You want this treat to really count, so be picky about what you choose. For me, two dark chocolate Dove Bites really do the trick: 42 calories each.

3) starches: convert white processed breads and rice to brown. I like the nutty taste of brown basmati rice which is actually found to have better nutritional content than white basmati rice.

4) portion control: this is a basic tenet of Weight Watchers. Surprise, surprise - if left to my own devices, I tend to put a cup of that basmati rice on my plate. This is technically not an incorrect amount of rice in a meal, but if your tracking your food by serving, that's 2 servings of grain which should increase the percentage of "forgiveness" foods (vegetables) you should be putting on your plate.

5) breakfast: I need protein for breakfast or I won't last the morning without a metabolic meltdown by 10:00 am. The worst thing I could consume in the morning would be a plate full of pancakes or waffles - I'd be better off without breakfast at all. A peanut butter sandwich only lasts until 11:00 am. So, I switched to an egg sandwich, about 340 calories, when made with olive oil. Cutting back to one egg instead of two, saves an additional 70 calories, and I can still last until lunchtime.

6) water: if possible, swap out as many portions of fluid out for water. Hate water? Squeeze some lemon juice or a jigger of fruit juice to make it more palatable. Need to get off of soda? Try seltzer water with a jigger of juice. Better yet, let a regular soda go flat, then try to drink it - that stuff is disgusting. Also, a new study shows that consumption of just one soda per day ups your risk for acquiring type 2 diabetes by 20%. Often, our body will send a signal of hunger when, in fact, we're thirsty. Try drinking fluid first, especially if you feel tired or have a mid-afternoon craving, to see if the signal is truly hunger or really thirst.

7) dairy: for me, there is something unique about dairy products that helps me feel healthier. Go low fat (1% milk); vitamin D, essential for bone metabolism, is a fat soluble vitamin that requires some of the fat present in dairy products for absorption into the gut. Lactose intolerant? Go for fermented dairy: yogurt or kefir - I'm on a Kefir kick right now because of the probiotics it provides for healthy gut flora.

Ultimately, when talking about weight loss, the rule still remains: less calories in, more calories out.

Posted by linda at April 30, 2013 8:42 AM

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