Dieting? - Stop That, and Monitor and Control Yourself to Reach Your Ideal Weight.
A healthy Tuna Salad dish
A Transplant Recipient and Dieting
I have tried to control my weight for most of my life and it has always been a battle for me. And the battle was against myself, if I am being honest and admit the truth.
Looking back, I have spent most of my life losing more battles in my personal weight war than I have won.
That is until the last several years.
You see, I really do enjoy good foods, junk foods and pretty much anything with unique and interesting flavors.
Add to this weakness, the fact that my wife and I also love to entertain and cook, and you can see how I am my own worst enemy when it comes to controlling what I eat.
Over the years, because of my weakness for foods, I have accumulated quite a personal database of useful information on good as well as bad ways to control your weight.
In fact, I now have a Blog called A Frugal Chef where I list great recipes, and other useful food related information, and I have also published a book of recipes, and a Food Reference book that are both available on Amazon.
Look in segment below this document for links to these if you are interested.
But, I digress! I mention all of this so you can get an indication of the level of my interest in Foods, pretty much all foods, in fact.
For years, I tried to use all of the standard tools available to lose weight, such as;
1- Weight Loss Clubs
2- Exercising at Gyms
3- “Low- Everything” cookbooks and recipes.
4- Mail order food programs.
5- And on, and on, and on.
All of these systems and programs that are designed for weight loss seem to work for many people, a few even worked for me. But, they all take a level of dedication that I have found many people just do not stick to, for the long run, including myself.
The REALITY of Eating
But, really, your real weight is determined, especially over the long run by a simple formula that every Doctor that you talk to will admit is true.
To Lose Weight, you must Burn more Calories than you Consume!
It looks so simple, right? You just eat less food (with calories), until you start losing weight, and stay at that level of consumption? No Problem!
Well yes. there is a problem. You see, you need to eat healthy foods, regardless of the level of calories, or your body is going to tell you it is missing something, and it will eventually force you to desire to eat what it is missing.
That is a pretty non-scientific statement, but it's true. Your body tells you things every day. It tells you if it is Cold or Hot. It tells you if it is Sore. It tells you if it is Nauseous or Dizzy, or has a Fever, and on, and on.
So, why would you think that it isn’t signaling you when it doesn’t have enough; Protein, or Fiber, or even Vitamin C or Magnesium or any of the broad spectrum of other nutrients that it needs?
So with all of this, I try to manage my weight and health with a very simple process of listening to my body and monitoring and managing what I put into it.
Just so you understand, I am not telling you that I am; going Vegan, eating more/less red meat, eating more/less seafood or Chicken, eating more or less of certain vegetables and fruits.
I am telling you that I am listening to my body and monitoring and managing what I put into it.
Steps to Knowing Your BODY's MINIMUM Requirements
First step: It is pretty well established what the typical body’s minimum daily requirements for nutrients are. You can buy books or download this data from the web. Thousands of these references are out there, so there is no real justifiable reason for not being aware of this information.
Second Step: Considering the fact that there are actually very few “typical” people with weight problems, you should learn, and you probably already know, which of these nutrients, etc. need to be consumed at higher or lower level that that for the "typical" person.
For instance, a Diabetic has Sugar consumption level concerns along with certain other nutrients that are critical to them.
Someone with High Blood Pressure, has Salt and other nutrient consumption level concerns.
The same is true for people with Heart, Liver, Kidney, and other special health problems.
Each one of these special (or non typical) people need to know what they can eat more of or less of, if they want to lead a healthy life.
And, in today’s world, it is a pretty good bet that their Doctors have told them specifically and clearly what they need to manage in their diets.
So, let’s assume that we have this information and that we are aware that while a ”typical” person need to “MANAGE” his input of VITAMIN-X to a minimum of 10-mg and a maximum of 40-mg daily.
While at the same time, you, with your “special” health needs must keep this intake to a number between 10-mg and 20-mg.
Once you do a little research and put together your personal limits for these daily nutrient requirements then you have the necessary ammunition to then control your weight with proper monitoring and self management.
Management of those things that add or remove body fat, specifically Calories, Fats and Carbs.
I mention these as the most important controllable inputs simply because they are the ones that get all of the attention in the thousands of weight loss plans that are typically used.
Not a Diet but a Monitoring System
You see, I finally figured out something very critical about myself that helps me.
I am a total failure at Dieting, but I am pretty good at monitoring and adjusting my food inputs over the long run to keep myself healthy.
By doing this, sometimes I lose weight (a little) and sometimes I gain weight (a little).
And by monitoring my SELF and my food input, I am aware enough to keep the weight gains and losses at a level that I can easily catch and bring back under control.
Under control, quick enough to minimize the size of the required dietary change, and quick enough to minimize what it takes for me to “suffer” through the indignities of not eating as much of my favorite foods while I lose back to my acceptable weight.
Please notice that I said Acceptable weight, not Ideal weight. I have an acceptable weight, acceptable not only to myself but acceptable to my Doctors.
You see, even though they will beat you up over your weight, if you have a real and informed dialogue with them and show that you are monitoring your body's intake,.
And your other numbers are good, generally, they will cut you a little slack in their universal goal to have everyone in the world meet some scientific standard.
Skills for Monitoring Your Eating Habits
Now, to monitor your body and its nutrient and chemical inputs, you need good tools.
Until recently you used spreadsheets and tables of data, and wrote down what you ate, or you ate specific foods for every meal, or you counted up to a magic number, or whatever the latest diet craze demanded.
And you lost weight! And when you got to your ideal weight, you went back to your old lifestyle and slowly put the weight back on.
Or, you lost a little weight but never got to your ideal weight because you “fell off of the wagon” too often.
You know what I mean; that Friday night dinner at that Italian restaurant where , after two glasses of wine, you ordered Pasta with extra Alfredo Sauce, and a Tiramisu dessert, and topped off the Evening with a Bailey’s Irish Cream.
And you felt so good that when you got home, at 11:00PM you decided to pour yourself “one more” glass of wine, and eat some that delicious cheese that you had been saving for a special occasion.
Then the next morning, you skipped your daily weigh-in, and went out to a baseball game where you consumed two hot dogs, with Kraut, and 3 large beers.
So when you finally did weigh-in, WOW! There went the last week’s weight loss, down the drain.
That’s why they call them “strict” diets. You have to be strict with yourself and eat explicitly as the diet program demands. There are very few diets that allow you to fall very far off of their wagon.
And, when you go out for a special occasion, and there are appetizers at a party, or you are looking at a menu in a nice restaurant, you can’t look at the bottom of the plate and check on its contents.
That delicious “whatever” dish could be loaded with Fat, Sugar, Salt, Alcohol, MSG, or any number of the things that you know that you need to control. But ….. there is no data available. So …..you eat, and you pay the next day,
WHAT I Needed
It took a lot of years, and some major advances in technology, but I finally found out what the tools were that I needed to properly monitor my body and what I put into it.
I bought an iPhone, otherwise known generically as a Smartphone. A Smartphone is a cellular phone that can run special applications.
Applications, called “Apps”, are small specialized computer programs that are designed to take inputs from the phone user, and generate specific information for the user.
The beauty of the iPhone is the fact that Apple decided to allow people other than Apple people to write Apps for their phone.
I have a lot of these special Apps on my iPhone, and they give me information that is important to me every day, and thus the iPhone itself has become a valuable personal tool to me.
One of these Apps, that I started to use, is called LOSE IT.
This is unavoidable, so let me list what this app allows me to do, every day, and everywhere I go.
- First time I enter my personal statistics; age, height, weight, etc.
- I enter my weight goal.
- I enter my weight daily, first thing in the morning.
- I enter my meals.
I can enter individual fruits and vegetables, etc. throughout the day, or (and here is where I consider this app special), I can generate a special recipe.
A special recipe can be a sandwich, a main dish, a beverage mixture, or whatever you wish, that you enter its ingredients, and it is stored with your name for the recipe for reuse.
This really cuts down on the data entry time because you soon have special recipes for probably 80%, or more, of what you eat daily. Just grab it and enter the recipe, and all of its included ingredients, and totaled nutrients, fat content, etc. are added to your daily totals.
The next great thing about having such an App, is the fact that the food data comes from a national database, that also includes thousands of name-brand foods such as; Soups, Crackers, Breads, Canned Goods, and even Major Fast Food products.
So, if I am traveling down the road, and it is Lunch time, and I pull into a McDonalds or whichever fast food that I find, I can actually look up the nutritional content of what they have on my iPhone.
But, as I mentioned before, I love to eat and I love to Cook. Not so much fast Food, but good and tasty foods that can often be high in some of the things that are No-No’s on my personal list.
This leads me to what I consider the best function of my iPhone App. This function is the fact that I can sit down at a nice restaurant, and select a dish that sounds good. And even if the restaurant personnel can’t tell me the nutritional content, I can do something that is very powerful, to me.
I can order that Chicken Picata dish. And when it is delivered, I do my analysis of what am looking at, before I even take a bite. I actually only takes a minute or two.
I make a “guess-timation” of what is in the dish.
Come on, you eat foods all of the time that you probably know all of the main ingredients, and the others, such as Herbs and Spices are usually in such small portions that, generally speaking, they will not tilt the dish’s nutrient totals one way or another.
And, I said generally, because if you have an allergy to one of these, like I do with MSG, it would obviously need to be avoided.
Anyway, usually with just one taste, I figure out, or guess at, the weight of the Chicken Breast, the amount of EVOO, the volume of the capers, Lemon Juice, White Wine, amount of Salt, etc. and add it to my day’s foods.
This, by the way works pretty good, and I have gotten to be fairly accurate at my “guess-timations”. Close enough to manage myself fairly well, over time.
Then I can see how much the complete dish will cost me from the totals section on the App.
From this data, I have to then make a decision. You see, obviously I wanted that dish for dinner. And, let’s say that the whole dish adds 1000 calories to my daily total, and also really kicks up my daily salt level.
At this point I have to decide one of two things; 1-Do I eat it all and go over my totals for the day. 2-Or do I make the hard decision to split the meal. Do I eat half and take the other half home.
If I only eat half, then I stay within my calorie limit for the day, and my Salt level is still acceptable.
And, honestly, I make this decision both ways, but what entering the data does for me is not just let me know about that specific dish, but it allows me, regardless of my decision, to make smart decisions for the rest of the evening.
Long Term Food Management
So, by monitoring my foods inputs, daily, I can make adjustments, not only daily, but my iPhone app also allows me to see my daily nutritional intake totals day by day for the past. Week.
This allows me the possibility to “pay for my Saturday Sins” by controlling my intake on Monday, for instance.
And that is the whole thing that I have learned about Dieting.
I, like so many people, just can’t, and really don’t want to, live on diets that take away so much of the enjoyment of life associated with eating good foods.
But, on the other hand, we realize that we must keep our bodies as healthy as possible, and that includes controlling our weight along with our nutritional input.
Now I have a tool that allows me to monitor and manage myself to the level that I desire, thus minimizing the effects of physical health with weight control.
I am not at my ideal weight. But, then again, there is very little about me, especially at my age, that is ideal. I have lost over 50 pounds over the past couple of years, and I have put only ten of those pounds back on my body.
Do I weigh what those idealized height-related weight charts call for? No, absolutely not! But I am healthier than I have been for most of my life, and I am watching myself, as closely as I can while still enjoying my life and my favorite foods ..... within my own self-defined limits.
It works for me!
TUNA Salad Salad Nutritional Info
Today for lunch I had the actual TUNA Salad Salad that you see in the picture in this article. It only took me about 2 minutes to enter the ingredients into my LOSE IT application, and then add it to my personal recipes.
Nutritionally, it rates out with the following for one serving.
- 151- Calories
- Total FAT- 4.2g
- Sat.FAT- 0.9g
- Cholest.- 128.5mg
- Sodium- 298.1mg
- Carbs- 9.9g
- Fiber- 2.6g
- Sugars- 5.8g
- Protein- 19.8g
And, I eat this Salad often, so the next time, I just search through my personal recipes, and grab it and add it to my daily intake. Fast, Easy, and very accurate.
GREAT explanation of Carbohydrates, everyone should watch
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2011 Don Bobbitt