Choosing Eating Over Life

Connie: You would rather stuff yourself and roll around in your stupid electric cart than take me to the dance?

Bobby: Why, I guess I would.

This little conversation comes from the TV show King of the Hill when chubby Bobby Hill develops gout from eating too many deli type foods from a local restaurant and prefers to keep the food (and the gout) rather than go to the dance with his girlfriend.

This storyline is indicative of the decisions many people, especially in the USA, make on a daily basis. They choose food over many of life’s alternatives. Now, the choice may not be as clear cut as in King of the Hill, but it is real. Obesity can often lead to lack of mobility, shortness of breath, a lower quality of life, and an early death. So, in a sense, by choosing to eat too much, many people are rejecting such things like an active lifestyle, playing with their kids, general mobility, and spending a longer time on earth with their loved ones.

I love food and believe it should be enjoyed in life, but not at the expense of the other good things. The sad truth is that large numbers of people are choosing food over living life.

How to Lose Weight: #17 Substitute

There are a variety of lower calorie foods available these days, like light cream cheese and light bread. Most are specifically marketed toward those looking to lose weight. Personally, if there is a lighter option, I tend to eat it, unless the light option is not really worth the price (since light options sometimes are more expensive). As those who struggle with their weight know, calories add up very quickly, and saving a few here and there really helps in the long run. Let me compare a few calorie values below, and you can see that in the course of a day, choosing the lighter option over the full-calorie version really makes a difference. If you are not looking into lighter versions of your favorite high-calorie foods, you are really doing yourself a disservice. I list the light version, and the calorie

Light Spread: 50 (tbsp)  -50
Regular Butter: 100 (tbsp)

Light Bread: 35 (slice) -45
Regular Wheat Bread: 90 (slice)

Mozzarella 80 (1/4 c) -20
Regular – 100 (1/4 c)

Skim Milk 80 (c) -40
2% Milk 120 (c)

Light Yogurt 80 (6 oz) -40
Regular Non-Fat Yogurt 120 (6 oz)

Ground Turkey 170 (4 oz) -143
Ground Beef 313 (4 oz)

Whole Wheat Pasta 180 (2 oz) -30
Regular Pasta 210 (2 oz)

Diet Soft Drink 0 (12 oz) -150
Regular Cola 150 (12 oz)

If you substitute all of these in a day, you save 518 calories (which amounts to 3626 calories in a week). At this rate, you would lose a little over a pound of fat a week, all things equal, just by making a few substitutions. In addition to lowering your calories, by making these choices, you would increase your fiber, lower your levels of saturated fat, and consume less sugar and trans-fats! I have generally found that eating lighter versions of foods takes a little getting used to, but only a little. Finding lighter options is usually pretty easy, since they are often with the regular options at the supermarket.

One example of how we substitute is the way that we make pumpkin muffins. By using applesauce instead of the 3/4 cup of oil, we save over 1200 calories! By using Splenda instead of sugar we save even more, and I still love them so much I eat them all day (I will post the recipe soon).

Going All Pumpkin Like

This past weekend, the stores seemed to be getting ready for autumn, so naturally we obliged and bought a few pumpkin flavored products that we usually buy this time of year: Edy’s Pumpkin Ice Cream, Pumpkin Spice Coffee, and canned pumpkin (to make Jennifer’s super lite, sugar free, Pumpkin muffins). It has been cold enough in the mornings that it really does feel like Fall! Nothing beats enjoying a cool breeze while drinking Pumpkin Spice coffee.

Change #5: Keep It Out of the House

Thanks to Kim for reminding me of this very important change. Most people wouldn’t expect an alcoholic to have much success as a bartender or a guy trying to be celibate visiting strip clubs. Yet, this is what those of us who eat too much often do when we keep foods in the house that lead us to temptation. I know what foods trigger binging for me; cheese curls, fudge, snickers bars, and pretty much all the good stuff! A lot of it, I just don’t buy. For one, most of these items have pretty much no nutritional value, so there’s not even much sense in keeping them around at all. And, if I want something in this category, I usually only buy one, that way I can see it as a treat, but not an opportunity for a binge.

Now, I am no longer single and this was much easier before I had a family since not every person shares my spartan attitude (or my food addiction). In some cases, I put my foot down for the sake of health. For example, I don’t allow deep fried snacks in the house except occasionally. Nor do I allow pop, but I don’t like the taste of it anyway. However, I can’t expect my family to embrace all my choices, especially since not everyone has a problem with food. My wife can eat half a candy bar and be done with it. I can’t. However, there has to be some compromise. In those cases, my family will often hide the stuff from me (at my urging, btw). It sounds juvenile, but after a day I forget we even bought it and they can enjoy it in moderation.

Basically, my general advice is if you don’t want to eat it, then don’t buy it.