Nutrition/Foods to Lose

Do not concern yourself with the scale. Instead, focus on your percent body fat. How do your clothes fit? If your belt grows longer and your energy levels increase, you are doing everything right. You may calculate changes in your percentage of body fat by using a caliper, electrical impedance machine, underwater weighing, or better yet, the mirror. Eating frequent mini-meals insures that the calories consumed are used for energy rather than fat storage. I carry oatmeal, brown rice, baked potatos, along with tuna, and a variety of fruits and vegetables to work each day, supplying breakfast through mid-afternoon meals. Preparing my meals in advance ensures that I won't be tempted to make a detour into a fast food establishment.

Learn to read food labels for the percentages of protein, carbohydrate, and fat in each food product. Eat foods that have less than fifteen percent fat. Also, read the ingredients on the label. If the first two ingredients listed are high in fat or sugar, choose another food item. However, beware of deceptive food labeling. A glass half-full of water and oil may be labeled "fifty-percent fat free" although one hundred percent of the calories are fat. Any food having ingredients ending in "ose" is probably sugar: sucrose, fructose, dextrose. Also, corn syrup, honey, molasses, sorbitol, mannitol, levulose, brown sugar, and invert sugar are simple sugars. Recognize fats, a.k.a. vegetable oil, soybean oil, palm oil, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, and cocoa butter.

"Free" in the dictionary has a different meaning than food products labeled "free." The sugar and fat in "sugar free" and "fat free" items are measured by weight, not by calories. Six small, quick meals each day replace three marathon gorging sessions. Each meal includes a serving of protein and two servings of a carbohydrate.

Choose from the proteins, complex carbohydrates, and fibrous vegetables below:

Protein Carbohydrate Fibrous Vegetable Egg whites
Lima beans
Bamboo shoots
Ground Turkey
Black-eyed peas
Green beans
Lean beef
Brussels sprouts
Brown rice
Acorn squash
Other Fish
Sweet potato
Red peppers
Skim milk
Shredded wheat
Green peppers
Cottage cheese
White rice
Summer squash
Black beans
Zucchini squash
Pork loin
Kidney beans
Canadian bacon
Pinto beans
Garbanzo beans
Split peas

CONDIMENTS: Use seasoned vinegars, balsamic, or wine vinegars to season both salads and vegetables. Ground oatmeal can bread meats that you previously fried. Flour, ketchup, mustard, non-fat mayonnaise, non-fat salad dressing, and imitation butter flavor are other fat-saving alternatives.

Here is what you might eat on a strict program:

Breakfast: An egg white omelet, oatmeal, and toast.
Mini-meal: Yogurt and a bagel.
Lunch: Tuna sandwich with fruit and vegetables.
Mini-meal: Rice cakes, non-fat cheese, carrots, and celery.
Dinner: Baked chicken, baked potato, and green beans.
Mini-meal: Fiber cereal and low-fat milk.

I found support for my new eating style in a recent issue of The New England Journal Of Medicine. This investigation revealed the need to eat several meals each day, rather than two or three large ones. Over a three week period a group of men ate three meals a day totalling 2,700 calories. Several weeks later they again ate 2,700 calories each day, but this time they spread out their meals into 17 small ones. Their food was absorbed more efficiently, and the nutrients were utilized more effectively when they were grazing throughout the day. In addition, their metabolic rates increased and they lost body fat.

Another empirical study conducted at the University of Victoria in British Columbia showed me the importance of meal frequency for increasing energy and losing body fat. Subjects were required to ride exercise bikes for varying lengths of time. The longer the subjects rode, the longer their metabolic rates remained elevated following their cycling.

One warning. You must eat to lose body fat. Dieters may eat one meal each day in an attempt to lose fat. Eating infrequently slows the metabolism, decreases muscle mass, and increases the propensity to store fat. The body perceives that you are trying to starve it. In an attempt to maintain weight, the body "holds on" to calories and efficiently stores them as fat. Many weight-loss programs of the past relied on losing water and muscle to convince dieters that they were losing weight. The dieters did not realize that they were sabotaging their bodies. Therefore, to increase your metabolism, feed your muscles frequently with carbohydrates and proteins. You are biologically designed to eat.

Another trick is to special-order at restaurants. Ask that your foods be poached, grilled, steamed, or baked. Request that the chef not add extra oil, cream, or butter in your dishes. Dressings and sauces can be ordered on the side so you control the quantity of fat. I usually ask for grilled or broiled chicken or fish, a baked potato, and a cruciferous vegetable such as broccoli.