Sunday, February 22, 2009

Eat this not that--does it work?

I just read a post on the WW web site that details making little "switches" like fat free milk for whole milk in your lattes. The idea is saving a few calories here and there (and everywhere) to add up to enough calories saved to result in loss of weight. It's not unlike the best selling book, Eat This, Not That.
Fantasy, I say.
Sure, if the world stopped rotating on its axis and you never again added cream or whole milk to your latte and kept everything else stable (like your total intake, like your activity output) and you didn't age (because we all know that as you age, you have to take in fewer calories or you'll gain weight), then switching to fat free milk might indeed result in weight loss. It's doubtful, why it's down right ridiculous, to assume any of that. So the small changes that people keep recommending as sure fire ways to lose weight are fantastic (and I don't mean that in a good way).
Sure, a "regular" burger is a less caloric choice than a cheeseburger. But does that mean that eating a burger every day for lunch will leave you thinner at the end of the week? I suppose it could be possible. But I'd have trouble restraining myself from not adding a few french fries since I'd theoretically be "saving" all those cheese calories! And the few extra fries would require a couple of extra dips into the Ranch dressing. And, voila, there goes the calorie savings.
I don't think I'm alone in that perverted thought process. "Oh, I'm saving a few calories here so I suppose it would be okay to add a few more there".
There are reasons to switch from white bread to whole wheat bread and from whole milk to 1% (I don't think anyone should drink skim doesn't taste like milk!). Those reasons are for health and not to lose weight.
I'm obsessed with weight....well, with body fat although I use the term "weight". I'm obsessed with how fat I am, have been and will be. I should be obsessed with how healthy I am. And if I were, then choosing whole grain bread and 1% milk would make me healthier if not thinner. And that is the reason I should be choosing those. Because even if you're thin, those are the choices you should be making.
So, Eat This, Not That and WW switches are for everyone. Not just for the weight obsessed.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pizza Gluttony

I did it. I ate a 12 inch cheese pizza all by myself. With lots of red pepper flakes. Every slice. Every piece of stretchy cheese. All the delicious crunchy crusts. Every morsel. There's nothing left but the box. Why did I do it? Because I've been thinking about pizza from NYPD Pizza (a local pizza joint) for weeks. Sometimes when I'm getting ready to make my lunch, I'll think, "Maybe I should just go get a pizza". I always stop myself. But it had become a sort of obsession so that every time I was getting ready to eat, pizza would pop into my head.
Now the obsession has been resolved. The pizza has been consumed. It was delicious. Right now, though, I'm feeling kind of full. Like really full. Like bloated. Like maybe I should have stopped at half the pie? Or even left one piece over? Or, better yet, shared it!
Oh, well. It's done. Could have been worse. I could have also had some Pepsi....real Pepsi. I didn't. That's the perfect pairing. Pepsi and Pizza. Pepsi with sugar. Not sugar free. Yum. Perfect balance of flavors. For my palate. Instead, I drank a diet Sprite. Weird. The drink was just there to quench my thirst not to enhance the pizza the way Pepsi does.
I shall not think of this again. I'm over it. My belly. That's another story. My belly may be feeling the ravages of pizza gluttony for a while. Poor belly.

Friday, February 6, 2009


The following came thru the e-mail to me (from whence, I know not):
Leading dieticians and weightloss professionals have focused on the importance of removing toxins from your body this year. When you detoxify your body you naturally shed excess water weight, start burning fat/food more efficiently and lose weight naturally.

Um, "leading dieticians"? Which ones? And dieticians or dietitians? Because we RDs prefer the latter spelling. But that's not what's important. What is a weightloss professional? Someone who's made her life's work going on diets? Someone who gets paid to lead other people to weight loss? Someone who anoints herself a weightloss professional? And who are these leading dieticians and weightloss professionals? Because the rest of the e-mail was about colonics. I don't know any leading or otherwise dietitian or dietician who would recommend colonics as a way to lose weight. Our teaching is that the body naturally detoxifies itself every time you visit the bathroom for #1 or #2. For people who visit less often (and you know who you are), that could just be your own "rhythm" and not a problem. It's rare for people to actually need some extra help and if they do, usually a prune or a bowl of bran flakes for breakfast does the trick. In fact, bran flakes with prunes would make for a great natural detox that doesn't involve the potential to damage your organs by going the other route (if you know what I mean). Such a delicate subject. Difficult to be PC about it.
Anyway, the point is that when you read something that touts "leading dieticians and weightloss professionals" that should send up a red flag. Why wouldn't these outstanding people in their fields want to be recognized, named?
And as for the cleaning out of the purported toxins that reside in the gut, there's just no science to back that up. There's nothing putrefying in your gut now. There are indeed toxins and waste products but the best way to get rid of them is to let your body do what it does naturally.
As for losing weight. Come on, guys. Perhaps after a day of gastrointestinal virus attack you might weigh a bit less but a colonic ain't gonna do it. Remember, we want to lose FAT not make the numbers on the scale go down my ounces!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Biggest Loser awakening

From an article in today's NY Times, a quote from the trainer on The Biggest Loser:
“The food that got them to this point is salty, sweet, fatty, crunchy,” said Bob Harper, a trainer on the show since the first season in 2004, describing the fast food and snacks that are the steady diet of most contestants. “They lose their taste buds, they lose their hunger cues and they want what they want when they want it.”

So true. Salt, sweet, fatty, crunchy. How many times have I described foods I like that way on this blog? Although I fancy myself a person with a refined palate, the truth is I have probably lost a lot of what I was born with by eating the way I have been eating. Of course, I've mentioned that a broccoli spear, steamed and plain, can taste pretty good. But for the most part, I'm looking for bangs of flavor and texture. I want my mouth to sing. I want my tongue to be happy. A plain grilled chicken breast doesn't produce that sort of rapture in my mouth. But coat it with a crisp covering and pour some fatty sauce over it and I'm in ecstasy.

And, yes, I want what I want when I want it. Hunger has nothing to do with it. Even when hunger does have something to do with my food seeking behavior, it's flavor and texture that guides my choices. I'll go hungry until I get what I want or what my mouth wants. I'm not satisfying my tummy most of the time. I'm satisfying my mouth (and my brain and my eyes).

So does knowing this make a difference? No. Because I would have to be thinking about this at the time that I make an eating decision. And most of the time when I'm at that point, I just go for it. Stop and think about what I want to eat....does it provide the right mix of nutrients; are the calories in line with my needs; is it a good nutritional choice? Ugh. No. I just think about the taste. Does it appeal to me at that moment.

Yes, my taste buds did get somewhat retrained early in this dieting saga but I let that slide because I wanted what I wanted when I wanted it. Just as Bob says. Sounds kinda selfish. Interesting that I am selfish about food but not really about other aspects of my life. Something to ponder today as I dash off to meet someone for lunch!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fear of peanut butter

I love peanut butter. Smooth creamy peanut butter. Even though I normally prefer crunchy foods, when it comes to peanut butter, creamy is my choice. I don't have a favorite brand although I probably buy Jif most often. My favorite way to eat peanut butter is on Ritz crackers with a slice of banana. That has the crunchy from the cracker, the peanut flavor paired with the sweet soft banana. Love it.
I'm trying not to let the peanut salmonella problem scare me. So far, national brands of peanut butter in jars hve not been implicated. I don't eat meal bars (yuck) or cookies that come out of boxes or any of the other products made with peanut butter that could be contaminated. But this morning, while smearing the stuff on my Ritz, I spent just about ten seconds thinking before I crunched down on the delightful morsel.
There is no way I could give up PB while trying to lose weight. It has the texture and flavor of an indulgence. PB has a lot going for it: It smells great. It's creamy. It tastes like the food it is made from! What could be better when you're looking for a food that is satisfying in small amounts. I know there are people who overdose on the stuff. People who eat peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon. I'm not like that. In fact, I wouldn't enjoy it straight up, without the accouterments I mentioned. It's a package to me...the cracker, the peanut butter, the banana.
I keep my peanut butter in the frig. Not sure why. I just always have done that. I think it's safer to keep most opened food refrigerated. Slows down bacterial growth. I know most people do not refrigerate their opened jars of peanut butter. I don't have any scientific evidence to support my actions but I would recommend the practice. It can't hurt. And it would certainly slow down rancidity which is also a problem with PB.
Poor peanut butter. Aflatoxin. Now Salmonella. Rancidity. So sad. Such a lovely food to have to suffer so many problems.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl Confusion

The news: The economy, obesity and the Super Bowl. The economy is in the dumps but people are a)betting money on the Super Bowl; b) spending money on parties; c) spending money on traveling to the game. Obesity in America is a troubling problem but people are planning an indulgence worthy of their last day on earth just because it's Super Bowl Sunday.
The stores will be empty but for a few women happy to leave their husbands in front of the TV with a bowl of chips as a companion. The movie theaters will be empty but for a few women tired of shopping and happy to see some chic flick that their sports minded husbands would never agree to see. The parks, the streets, the freeways will be empty. It's Super Bowl. I don't get it.
If you want to eat chicken wings and chips and dip and pizza and chili and whatever else is considered game day fare, then just do it. Why do people need an excuse? And why is this day connected to indulgence? Why is it okay to eat thousands of calories of fat laden foods today but not on any other day? What's so special about Super Bowl Sunday? Is it over yet?