Avoiding Being Super-Sized

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Awhile back, Debbie and I watched Super Size Me: A Film of Epic Proportions, a documentary by Morgan Spurlock.  Did you see this?  The filmmaker became a guinea pig for a most unfortunate experiment: he ate at McDonald’s three times a day for 30 days.  In the process he gained 23 lbs., his liver began to turn to jelly, his cholesterol sky-rocketed, he got depressed, and he became addicted to the sugary, salty, chemicals in the McFoods he was eating. It took 5 months for him to lose 18 lbs. and get back to a healthy place with his liver and cholesterol. It took another 9 months to lose the last 5 lbs..

Available on the DVD as a bonus feature was an interview with Eric Schlosser, the author of “Fast Food Nation.” It was fascinating and horrifying to hear the affects of the fast food industry. Obesity and the health effects are skyrocketing in our country. The preservatives and sugars and salts and trans fats are making fast foods and snack food unhealthy and addictive. (Ironically, I heard Saddam Hussein discovered Nacho Cheese Doritos from the US Army guards. He ate an entire bag every day).

My kids wake up wanting Apple Jacks, cookies, or candy for breakfast. Throughout the day, I generally snack a bit on sugary delicacies. I feel like I need to set a better example and have a harder line to keep my kids from eating so much junk. I am about 8 to 10 pounds over the weight I would like to be, a weight I have been able to get to only once in the last twelve years. (When Debbie and I got married, I gained 30 lbs. in the first year. As a poor, single, college guy I was eating cereal every meal or peanut butter and jelly on tortilla sandwiches, so I needed to gain some weight since I was so skinny but not that much).

8 to 10 pounds may not sound like much, but it’s like running around with a newborn baby strapped to my gut or my back. I truly want to stop snacking so much and start excercising more and begin eating healthier foods. Any advice on losing weight that doesn’t want to leave? What about healthy alternatives to the trans fats and the preservatives? We shop at Trader Joe’s (Jo Jo’s instead of Oreos) and have a hamburger from In-N-Out (even the author of Fast Food Nation mentioned in the interview how much better In-N-Out is compared to other hamburger chains due to its fresh ingredients) rather than Jack in the Box (notice the signs for Jack in the Box actually say “Jack in the B-Jesus Fish”).

Any other ideas for getting into good shape? After our vacation of course. 🙂

UPDATE: I just discovered a story about a man in Virginia who actually lost 80 lbs on an almost all McDonald’s diet!

Showing 3 comments
  • the nick waters

    Eric,

    Here are some suggestions on losing that weight that “doesn’t want to leave”:

    1. Before exercise–before a new gym membership–eat healthy things *see below

    2. Exercise often (this can vary from twice-a-week to six-days a week)

    3. Drink water, and low sugar (preferably, no sugar) drinks

    4. Have a workout buddy, or an “accountability partner” in the gym (another guy with equal, or greater commitment than you)

    5. Set goals, and cheat dates (rewards) for yourself

    There are free health-oriented, pro-exercise Web sites that offer countless tips and suggestions for beginners. Beware of fad diets, and “get thin quick” programs. Know that what you’re looking for is not simply a “diet”, but a lifestyle change. It will require discipline at first, but in a few months you should notice a difference in both how you feel, and what you crave with certain foods.

    *more on healthy things to eat: some GOOD things are–low-fat, whole grains, protein, vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables, skim milk, olive oil; some BAD things include–saturated fat, bleached and enriched flour, hygrogenated oils, preservatives, granulated sugar, excessive salt, and all soft drinks

    Hope this gives you some encouragement, and direction.

  • Blakely

    Eric,
    Nick makes some good points…as a dietitian I see a lot of people try to overhaul everything all at once and get frustrated feeling like they just traded in their life. The mindset is huge…try avoiding thinking in terms of NOT eating bad stuff and think about what it’s like to get ENOUGH good stuff. In other words, if you eat the 3-5 recommended servings each of fruits and vegetables in a day, and stop eating when you’re satisfied, you’ve got less room for the bad stuff. (ex: fruit and nuts or fruit and low fat cheese for a snack instead of sugary items). I am more inclined to make better decisions about food if I decide I’m going to “be good to myself” instead of always deciding what I’m always going to deprive myself of.

    Beautiful, colorful fresh food can become the “treat” to your kids that they can have in abundance (fruit) depending on what approach we take with it. I know kids who think shots of barley grass are the coolest thing EVER because their parents set it up that way from the beginning. I thought they were kidding until the kids got out the “shot glass!”

    Also, try to always eat a little protein (lean) with carbs. We want to try to avoid “naked carbs” because the protein acts as a buffer causing less of a blood sugar spike which helps to maintain weight. Ex: low fat cheese and fruit, high fiber cracker (reduced fat triscuit) and cheese, 1/2 c fruit and 1/4 c nuts, 2 egg whites and fruit, 1/4 c dried fruit and 1/4 c nuts.

    Regardless of how many versions of weight loss techniques you get, decreasing caffeine, white sugar, white flour will always be the right way to head in making changes.

    Enjoy!

  • Phil

    Eric

    When shopping I tend to buy the good stuff rather than snack stuff. If I don’t own any junk food then I can’t eat it.

    I make lunch for myself every day. Sandwiches and some fruit. The fruit I snack on during the day when my sandwiches are gone.

    One tip I was once given is that when you feel hungry drink some water first, if you still feel hungry 30 minutes after drinking the water than eat something.

    Don’t punnish yourself, moderation is a good term, the occasional unhealthy snack is not going to kill you or ruin months of healthy eating. However, if all you’re eating is junk then that’s probably going to do some serious damage.

    Oh maybe a stroll up one of those hills near your office, or a quick jog around a park once or twice a week. Maybe park a little way away from the office and walk the last bit. If you live nearer ditch the car and cycle – you’ll save a fortune on fuel as well.

    Anyway, enjoy.

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