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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The key to a healthy lifestyle

When doling out food, it is my belief that you should not go by the serving size that's on the package of the product. This serving size was made up by the manufacturer to make their product look good.

I'm not sure what all the rules are, but if you have less than half a gram of fat in a serving, then you can call your product fat free. Thus, if half a cup of corn flakes has 0.499 grams of fat in it, then corn flakes is considered fat free.

Well, corn flakes doesn't have 0.499 grams of fat in a serving, I was just using that as an example. A better example is butter spray. You know butter is bad for you. If you smear a tablespoon of butter on a piece of toast you're getting 5 grams of fat.

Yet if you take the spray version of that butter, one squirt is considered a serving. If you're normal like me, one squirt is never enough. Because the product says fat free, you think you're not putting fat on your bread. Yet you are, because that 0.499 times however many squirts you are using adds up.

Now I don't think one gram of fat is going to hurt anyone, but if you put 10 squirts of butter on your toast thinking there is no fat in it, that comes to 5 grams of fat. Now make that 20 squirts, and you're really delving into the fat with 10 grams.

If you're on a diet thinking you're eating a fat free product, you could be in a world of hurt come Saturday weight in time. You might have been good all week, and you barely lost a pound.

So serving sizes on products are meant to make the company look good. Let's go back to our bowl of cereal example. One serving is half a cup. If you're a little grandma perhaps half a cup of cereal fills you up. Yet if you're a grown man like me, half a cup of cereal is like eating a cracker.

Therefore, a serving size should be based on something other than what's on the side of the box.

That said, what is the best way to determine serving size? First, you have to do your homework. You have to decide what is healthy for you, and what you can eat on whatever diet you're on. Then you have to do a Google search to find out how much fat is in that product.

Or, if you're like me, I simply eat the foods in the Body For Life diet. Yet sometimes there's food not mentioned on this diet, and then I have to use another method of determining if it's a product I can eat.

So that brings us to the: how-to-determine-the-best-serving-size-for-you method. First, you Google your product to learn how much fat is in it. Don't go by serving size, I'm talking: is there fat in it? Or whatever content you're looking for: calories, carbohydrates, etc.

If it's cereal, for example, you pour a bowl so you have enough cereal to cover your fist. And if it's a steak, a portion size (one serving size) would be whatever fills covers your flat palm. If you have a large hand, then you're aloud to eat a little more. If you have a small palm, then you will be eating a little less.

Ideally, if you're eating the appropriate foods, a serving of two or more products should fill you up just nice. The BFL diet allows me to eat a protein and a carb with each meal, plus as many vegetables as I want. You can adjust the diet in other ways depending on how serious you are, yet I usually take the easiest route because I only have one goal: lose weight and/or don't gain.

You can adjust the diet however you want. I mean, if you're really serious, you can only purchase lean meats. You can only eat low glycogen carbs, which would be those that are basically not white, such as no white bread and no baked potato. I believe most fruits are low glycogen, yet you still have to do your homework.

Me, however, I take the easy route. I eat pretty much whatever I want, I simply make sure I get the correct serving size, not the one doled out in a restaurant, and not the miniscule amount noted on the package. As a rule, if I eat a sandwich at a restaurant, I usually cut it in half. Steaks are cut in half too. Burgers, well, it depends on how big it is.

So pretty much on my diet I am allowed to eat steak and hambergers every two hours throughout the day if I want. Of course you have to use common sense here too. How serious are you? Plus, is the meat you're eating lean or not? Usually, I limit myself to one such luxury per day. But you can do what you want.

Farmers back in time would eat when they had the chance. That's where we get our standard three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you really want to be a serioius dieter, you will want to forget about the three meal plan. You should start your own.

The problem with the three meal plan, to make it simple, is by the time it's meal time, you are starving. And what happens when you're starving? You pig out. You eat too much. Plus, by the time you're body is saying it's hungry, it's going into emergency mode and slowing it's metabolism and storing fat -- the exact opposite you want.

You want your body metabolizm to be continuously going. You want your body burning fat all day. You want your body to be a lean mean fat burning machine. To do that you will want to eat a small meal (for example, one protein and one carb with a veggie and glass of water) every 2-3 hours. This will keep your metabolism going.

Usually what I do is I plan on eating two really nice sized meals a day, and I consider these lunch and dinner. Here I will have my steak, potato, hamberger, pork, and vegetable with a bun, bread, or whatever. I want to really be full when I'm done.

Then two hours later I'll have what I call a snack. Stuff I consider snack food is: cereal, cottage cheese, oat meal, yogurt, small sandwich, etc. You might consider these meals, but these things don't satiate my hunger enough to last long.

Thus, after my "meals" I wait three hours before I eat a snack. After my snacks I wait two hours before I eat a meal. That way, I keep myself satisfied. I never go hungry. This is my own tweak of the BFL diet. Whatever diet you do, you can do your own tweaking to satisfy your own body.

I think that's one of the reasons so many poeple fail at diets, becasue they think they can read a diet and do what the diet says. Well, that would basically entail every person in the world eating the same diet, and having the same results. In the real world, that won't work. Every body is different. Every body needs a different serving size.

One more thing here. Another key to not getting hungry is fiber. If you eat a steak or a burger, chances are you will be filled up. Yet if you eat a bowl of cereal, you will probably be hungry in an hour and risk the urge of binging. So, when eating something like cereal, you need to only eat cereal that are high in fiber.

So Special K is out. Sure they say it's a good diet cereal, but you can't eat it becaue it has no fiber in it. You'll just be hungry an hour later. You'll be wanting to eat. You'll be craving that cake your spouse made the night before, or that candy Butterfinger you have in the cupboard.

A couple other rules I have is that if someone offers me something I'm allowed to eat it, or drink it. I don't want to be anti-social. If I'm at my neighbor's house and he offers me a Bud, then I drink up and enjoy. If I take the kids to my aunt's pool and she has cake and hot dogs, then I endulge.

Of course you don't want to do this kind of stuff every day, yet you can. You're body's metabolism needs to be fooled once in a while anyway.

Another rule is when you start your diet, or lifestyle, or whatever you want to call it, don't expect to feel good the first week if you eat small portion sizes. Eat big the first too weeks. Cheat the first two weeks if you need to. Do whatever you need to do to make it through.

Then in wees three or four, when you're stomach has shrunk, you can get more satisfaction from the smaller meal sizes. Then you can tinker with size. When you start you're diet your stomach is going to be full of all the junk you normally eat, and it will probably be large.

Another rule is I take one day off a week and eat anything I want. I try to make this day the one I might be tempted to otherwise eat bad, such as if I plan on going to a party, or aunt Mary's pool, or the neighbors for drinks, I try to make that my day off. Yet things don't always go as planned.

I certainly don't want to be the boring person who says, "No, I'm dieting." You'll never hear me say that. Ever. Nobody knows I diet. In fact, when I go to work, I carry with me a big bag full of food to last the 12 hour shift. I actually take more food with me to work when I'm "dieting" than when I'm not.

The fact is, if you're eating healthy, you can actually eat more and more often. The key is you want to eat several small meals through the day to keep your metabolism going. That's it.

You don't even have to exercise. Exercise helps, as it can get your metabolism going even faster, and muscle burns fat a gazilion times faster than fat, which barely burns anything. So aerobic activity, getting your heart rate over 100 for 20 minutes three times a week is important, but not necessary.

Some form of weight training helps too. Yet, if you hate to exercise, studies have been done, and common sense says this too, if you put into your body less than what goes out, you will lose weight. If you put in 2,000 calories a day and you burn up 3,000, you will lose. It may be gradual, yet if you stick to it you'll lose, or at least not gain.

I guess it all depends on what you want. It all depends on what your goals are It all depends on what kind of food you like. But to sit on the couch all day eating potato chips is not going to get you feeling better about yourself. To get results, you'll need to take some form of action.

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