Is Food an End or a Means for You? – Key Weight Loss Principle

I am nearing the end of my fourth year of blogging on health in general and weight loss in particular. In the beginning I had experienced a small amount of success, but the mental exercise of blogging on the subject sharpened my focus and really accelerated my progress. In 2010 I had my weight ‘down to’ 165 pounds which was my best weight in the past decade – down from over 220 pounds at my worst. So, I felt I had reason to feel good about myself.

Now, however, nearly four years later, I have my weight down to the low 150s. In addition, my cholesterol level is sub 200 with the key HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) reading at 85. I have less than 17 percent body fat and my waistline is 31 inches, the same as it was in high school. My resting heart rate is below 50 beats per minute. Clearly I have progressed positively.

One serving of pasta -200 calories - is about the size of a tennis ball.

One serving of pasta -200 calories – is about the size of a tennis ball. This is 200 calories without sauce.

What changed? A couple of things. The first is that I became conscious of portion size and portion control. As I wrote in a previous post, I used to think a ‘serving’ of pasta was a plate full. WRONG. A serving is about the size of a  tennis ball which amounts to around 200 calories – without pasta sauce on it. So, when I was eating a plate full of pasta, I was probably packing away 800 to 1000 calories. No wonder I could never lose weight. I learned that you need to pay attention to how much you are eating. That may sound obvious, but it wasn’t for me.  I was more focused on the pleasure of the food than its function – to keep me healthy.

Moving on from serving sizes, the next most important concept I learned in writing this blog is that I was considering food as an end in itself. That is, if I were having pizza, I would eat my fill of it – for the simple pleasure of enjoying how good it tasted. More was better. This is a road map for overeating.

Now that I am aware of portion sizes and calorie counts, I still love the taste of pizza, but I consume it totally differently. I enjoy a slice or two and genuinely savor the taste while not overindulging in the quantity. The pizza has become a means to an end – satisfaction of my hunger and replenishing my body with energy stores. It is no longer an end in itself.

I think getting this concept straight in your head will help guide you to eating well and intelligently without the kind of overindulgence that put me over 220 pounds and has resulted in our having 60 per cent of us overweight and 30 per cent outright obese. Another 10 percent has Type 2 diabetes, a preventable and ruinous disease that stems from inactivity and poor nutrition.

Since I have begun looking on food in terms of what it can do for me as opposed to simply how good it tastes, I find myself eating a lot more intelligently. I include more salads in my diet as well as a full complement of nuts and seeds which are wonderful energy, protein and fat sources that don’t clog my arteries. Regarding artery clogging, I am eating a lot fewer burgers, fries and steaks these days, too. It all adds up to less weight and better health.

As I wrote on my page How to Lose Weight – and Keep it Off, everything you eat and drink becomes a part of you. If you think about it that way,  you might be more careful about what and how much you are eating.

Tony

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