A DIET FOR LIFE

THE PROBLEM WITH MOST DIETS

Have you ever lost weight but later gained it all back?  Do you care how, what you eat and drink, affect your health and appearance?  Ninety-five percent of dieters regain all of the weight they lost!

Way back in 1993 the Denver Post reported on a study of 1,532 autopsies of teenagers and young adults who died from trauma in a dozen cities.  Early heart disease was found in the coronary arteries of half while 100% of the teens had fatty patches in the aorta, the body and the heart’s main artery.  In addition, a 1988 Harris poll conducted for Prevention magazine showed that 64% of U.S. adults were overweight.

Being obese, according to Prevention’s Giant Book of Health Facts, states that obesity substantially increases the risk of colon, prostate, and breast cancers, heart disease, diabetes, and many other illnesses.

MY CREDENTIALS ON LOSING WEIGHT AND DIETING

What do I know about diets to be advising anyone on losing weight?  My first diet dates back to 1969 just after I had a large brain tumor removed.  During recuperation from my brain surgery, my wife cooked my favorite foods and fed me well to the extent that I became heavy at 210 pounds, which for me was a lot.  To lose weight I checked out all of the known diets at the time, which all seemed unhealthy to me…and any weight lost would be almost guaranteed to be gained back, like most dieters experience.  So I decided to create my own diet, based on the lowest-calorie foods of my favorites.  To be successful, my diet had to lead to permanent weight loss as well as being healthy.

CREATING A DIET 

It seemed to me that diets failed to result in long-term weight loss because the foods they were restricted to were foods that people did not particularly like.  Consequently, as soon as the desired amount of weight was lost, a dieter would return to his/her old eating habits and this would inevitably lead to gaining all of the lost weight back.  This phenomenon needs to be taken into account if your goal is permanent weight loss.  Keeping this in mind, a workable diet would use, to the extent possible, smaller portions of the dieter’s favorite foods but keeping high-calorie forbidden and restricted foods to an absolute minimum.  For my personalized diet, I looked up the caloric content of all of my favorite foods and concentrated on eating low-calorie foods, which were basically fruits, vegetables, lean meat, and 1% milkfat milk and yohurt. I also concentrated on nutrient-dense, nonstarchy foods so I avoided potatoes, rice, bread (to the extent possible), etc.  Finally, I weighed myself every morning but also used a full-length mirror to check daily how my body looked.

For information on good nutrition, I started by reading a book called, Everything you Always Wanted to Know About Nutrition but were Afraid to Ask, by David Reuben, M.D.  I also read about a dozen diet books, including Dr. Robert Atkins’ books on his ultra-low carbohydrate diet and Dr. Barry Sears’ diet books on “The Zone,”  which is based of Nobel prize-winning research.

For health reasons, I only used extra-virgin olive oil, used the no-calorie natural sweetener, “Stevia.” in place of sugar to the extent possible, avoided all foods made with partially-hydrogenated oils (trans-fatty acids), and also avoided foods with high fructose corn syrup.  In other words, I used no coffee creamer,  but did use only whole milk to whiten coffee.  In addition, I only used mustard (13 cals./tbs) instead of mayonaise (100 cals./tbs) on sandwiches.

I limited eating meat to about 3 oz./day and tried to eat mostly chicken and fish.  Since I love animals, I even tried being a vegetarian for an entire year, eating beans as my main source of protein. 

Finally, I walked and exercised at home every day in order to change my “set point” and therefore burn more calories every hour, even while resting.

When I reached my seventies, I got Metabolic Syndrome, Syndrome X or Insulin Resistance.  This condition made it impossible to lose weight on anything other than an ultra-low carbohydrate diet which I modeled after a modified Atkins diet.

 THE RESULTS

Using variations of my diet from age 25 to age 70 I was able to maintain my normal weight.  At age 70 it became much more difficult for me to maintain a normal weight due to something that happens to most people as they age: Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome X.  To counter this is difficult but possible. I used exercise and walking every day, a very low-carbohydrate (modified Atkins diet), low-calorie, smaller meals, green tea extract supplements, resveratrol supplements, and fish oil supplements.  I even used Metformin, a prescription drug for diabetics and pre-diabetics.

FINAL & MOST IMPORTANT WORD 

You don’t need much willpower to lose weight…you simply need to create an environment where you will lose weight no matter what!  Specifically, remove all high-calorie and unhealthy foods from your home so that, when you want to snack, your choices are limited to natural applesauce, celery, carrots, refried beans with corn chips, etc.  No ice cream or pizza in the freezer, no cookies, cakes, pies, chips or pretzels in your home or apartment.  If you eat at a restaurant, keep food simple with small portions.  Do all of this and you will lose weight.  If you have Metabolic Syndrome, you need to go on a modified Atkins diet (Atkins diet, but using only healthy fats, fish and meats, plus eat beans so a little more carbohydrate than Atkins allows).  Follow my recommendations for a lifetime and you’ll be thin for a lifetime (and you’ll add 10-20 years to your expected lifespan).  Good luck!

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