Monday, April 2, 2007

Ten Secrets of Weight Loss-Part 3

I will continue with my list of the top ten things I have learned so far about weight loss. It seems to be working as I weighed in at the fitness center today and my cumulative weight loss since January 3, 2007 is now 33.5 pounds. I will talk about numbers 4-7 today. For reference, here is my top ten list.

The Ten Secrets of My Weight Loss

1. Knowledge is power-the knowledge to make choices
2. Non-fat sour cream is my friend
3. Non-fat cream cheese is my friend
4. Fiber is filling
5. My palate took about three days to retrain to a low sodium diet
6. My dinner plate is a riot of color compared with what it used to be
7. Almost any recipe can be remodeled to accommodate my diet
8. Exercise accelerates the weight loss and blood pressure lowering process
9. Vinegar wakes up the flavors of food
10. A playful attitude about food and a willingness to experiment have been strong allies

Four: Fiber is filling Fiber also has specific health benefits and provides filling bulk without adding calories. A high fiber cracker or two and a glass of mineral water is my way of coping with the relatively rare hunger pangs I get now. Fiber helps me to feel full and postpones my desire to eat on my reduced calorie and fat diet. High fiber foods take longer to chew and fool me into thinking that I have eaten more than I actually have.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a high-fiber diet may reduce my risk of hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis. Soluble fiber may also lower blood cholesterol levels and slow the absorption of sugar. It may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

My target, based on the Mayo clinic recommendations, is 30-38 mg of fiber. On a normal American diet, this may be difficult to achieve. I even read an article that recommended that most Americans start their day with enough Metamucil to provide half of their target fiber. On my diet, I haven’t had any trouble reaching my fiber goals. Reaching these goals happened without consciously thinking about them because foods that are low in fat and sodium also seem to be high in fiber.

I like crackers that are high in fiber and whole grain like Ry-Krisp (2 g) and Wasa (1.5 g), my morning oatmeal has 6 g, the flaxseed meal I cook with it has 2g, and the small box of raisins I also cook in my oatmeal (.5 oz.) has 1, for a total of 8 grams of fiber. One cup of my chili has nearly 11 grams, a baked sweet potato has 6.6, an orange has 3.3 grams, and a grapefruit has nearly 4 grams. My plate is always filled with fiber-rich vegetables too. So, I feel full and I have no need for Metamucil.

Five: My palate took about three days to retrain to a low sodium diet. When I first started eating foods without added salt like oatmeal and brown rice, I felt like I was eating tasteless cardboard. I also stocked up on Mrs. Dash products and salt substitutes. I still use the Mrs. Dash seasonings, but I haven’t touched the salt substitutes since the first week of my diet. When I revisited the food that previously had no taste, I found that they were rich with flavors. I was able to taste the subtle rich flavors that are naturally in all food when my palate was not jaded by salt.

Six: My dinner plate is a riot of color compared with what it used to be. My wife was the first to notice how attractive my plate has become at the evening meal. Salmon, brown rice, mixed vegetables, mushrooms, red and green bell peppers, salsa, sweet potatoes, a colorful salad, and other foods combine to create a plate that is as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate. This unintended benefit adds to my satisfaction with my low calorie diet. It is also healthier to eat a variety of foods.

Once again, I left my thumb drive at school so I will have to double up on my recaps tomorrow.

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