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Ways to Wellness
In the past, I've gone on so-called diets, and had some success, then put the weight back on, plus a little more.
I've counted calories, I've counted fat grams, and I’ve even counted pills. I've done the soup thing, the salad thing, and the shake thing. I've felt energetic and in control, and I've felt deprived and miserable.
I don't intend to ever go on a diet again. What I would like to do, however, is to change my eating habits.
Saturated fat is the worst food habit. It is the major cause of heart attacks and strokes. Saturated fats are loaded with cholesterol. These are usually of animal origin. Examples are butter, cream, whole milk and cheese. Also eggs, beef, lamb, ham, pork, fat and organs like liver and kidney. Other bad fats are present in coconut oil and palm oil, cocoa butter, and margarine in the stick form.
So what's left to eat? Well, there are beans, vegetable, fruits, fish, poultry, veal, skim milk and tofu. Lobster is okay as well as scallops, clams, crabs and oysters.
Whatever meat or poultry you do eat, look for lean cuts, without visible fat. Chicken should be eaten without the skin. Look for lean cuts of hamburger.
Preparation is also important. Barbecue (not in excess), pan-broil and oven broil is best. When roasting or baking meat, use a rack so that the fat can drain off.
You should also avoid potato chips, corn chips, cheese crackers, sweet rolls, pancakes, waffles, and French toast.
Better choices are graham crackers and breads like whole wheat, pumpernickel, rye, Italian, oatmeal or raisin and English muffins. Drinks are tricky so watch the soda and juice as it may be full of sugar. I’ve gotten used to unsweetened ice tea. Cereals are great, but egg noodles are not. Nuts are fine except for cashews and macadamias, or those covered with chocolate.
If you can't give up your favorites, try cutting down on them. You can have eggs, but cut down the number per week. A dozen eggs last about a month in our family. Use tub margarine instead of butter. If you must fry foods, use olive or canola oil instead of vegetable oil. Low-fat ice-cream and frozen yogurt is a nice treat.
Watch out for donuts. . .I always gain three pounds when I eat one.
Unfortunately our weight is determined by the number of fat cells in the body. Once you've got these fat cells you're stuck with them. They are also the result of overeating.
I know I will never weigh what like I did when I was 20. But I can prevent my problem from getting worse by changing some habits now.
Patricia Duguay is the director of the River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition, a Healthy Maine Partnership.