Freedom and Calorie Counting
- POSTED ON: Feb 09, 2018


My personal

ongoing choice is
to count calories because I find it far less difficult than trying to stick to a restrictive diet that tells me exactly when and/or what to eat. 

Part of my dieting hobby involves experimentation with various diets, ways-of-eating, lifestyles, including those eating methods which call themselves non-diets.

However, even when I experiment with other specific diet plans which don’t involve calorie counting, I continue to count and record my calories. 


For the past 10 (13+) years, I’ve used a computer food journal to track my calories, and I do that all day, every day, no matter what number the day’s total calories turns out to be. 

If any substance goes into my body, it goes into my computer food log.  Accuracy or lack of accuracy is always an issue when counting calories, but I do my ultimate best to weigh, measure, and record consistently and accurately, and I am willing to trust that my personal best efforts are good enough. 

After having successfully completed more than 3800 consecutive days of counting calories, I feel qualified to say that it is possible for a person to establish an enjoyable, ongoing calorie counting habit.

Some of the Benefits of Counting Calories are:

I have Freedom of Choice. 



 I am free to choose the food I eat. I know that good food exists and I feel comfortable seeking it out without guilt. I base my food choices on what I need and want, keeping moderation in mind, and the needs of my health as well.

I don't believe in depriving myself, but I take responsibility for my body, allowing it to enjoy the pleasure of taste, as well as proper nutrition. I know that there's no such thing as bad food unless of course it has spoiled, tastes bad, or doesn't otherwise live up to my expectations.



 I am Absolved From Allegiance to Others.



I am not beholden to a book, a piece of paper, or a meal delivery service. I am also not tied to a celebrity trainer, DVD, medical professional, or specific diet such as low-carb, high-protein, low-fat, or high-fat to reach or maintain a healthy weight. I no longer blame, nor do I need, others for my own personal food choices.

My loyalty is to my health and well-being, so I matter most when it comes to what I choose to eat. I seek out assistance, help, and support, to inform my decisions, but I have no guilt or shame for not following others’ advice …or even my own advice 100% of the time. 



  I am a Self-Governing Body. 



I have the power to change my eating habits if I desire to, and I take steps that feed my ability to regulate my food intake. I set up checks and balances in my life to ensure that my lifestyle is an environment that sustains my healthy eating habits. I consistently look for ways to improve on my own food choices and take the initiative in cultivating new ways to eat.  

I don’t accept what others say is healthy for me. I am thorough in making sure that what I eat, and how I eat, is up to my standards regardless of what menus, the news media, or others say. By choosing food according to my own caloric needs, taste preferences, and nutritional needs, I am a self-governing body. 



 
NOTE: Originally posted March 30, 2015.  Bumped up for new viewers.


My Preferences Matter
- POSTED ON: Jan 16, 2018


Research indicates that 95% of all dieters regain their lost weight within 5 years. 

I am  a “reduced obese” person who has been maintaining my body at or near a “normal” BMI for the past 12+ consecutive years, so I am one of the 5% who has maintained their weight loss for more than 5 years.

Long-term Maintenance of my very large Weight-Loss requires me to Diet continually. By this I do NOT mean that I “Yo-Yo Diet”. I mean that I must CONSISTENTLY Diet.  Minute-after-minute, hour-after-hour, day-after-day, week-after-week, month-after-month, year-after year.

I am not, … nor will I ever become, … a “normal” eater who can effortlessly maintain a “normal” weight.  Even after all these years of consistent weight-loss maintenance, I've found that as a "reduced obese" person, I must fight my body continually in order to keep it from taking me up back into morbid obesity.

Basically, I engage in ongoing calorie restriction.  Over the years I’ve chosen to experiment with a variety of diets, ways-of-eating, lifestyles, and diets-that-claim-not-to-be-diets.  However, every one of these eating variations involves restricting calories in one way or another.

I log all of my daily food in a computer journal, and keep an eye on my calorie intake. 

Generally, I follow some basic eating guidelines which tend to give me freedom from specific diet rules, in the following ways.

My preferences matter.  I get to say what I like and what I don’t, and I can’t be wrong.


I manage my eating in a flexible way, similar to the way I budget my money, — not spending an absolute set amount every day, but keeping an eye on the bottom line.

Financially, I live within my means.  Although I don’t track every single purchase, I do look at price tags, comparison shop, and have a general idea of whether I can afford something.


I do the same with eating,
… paying attention to:

    ▪    The energy value (i.e. calories) in the foods I eat, or think about eating;

    ▪    My own energy needs (i.e. calorie burn);

    ▪    The health effects of certain foods (i.e. I have some protein every day; avoid foods that upset my stomach; etc.)

In this way I am able to make wiser decisions about which, and how much, food is appropriate for me and why.  I choose to eat the foods I love in small amounts, while I choose to do without the foods that I don’t love or need as much.

As a grown-up, I understand that Living Life involves a multitude of basic ongoing tasks. 

    ▪    I have to shower or bathe frequently if I want my body to be clean.

    ▪    I have to keep up with my laundry if I want to wear clean clothing.

    ▪    I have to perform various household tasks if I want to live in a clean house.

    ▪    I have to keep putting fuel in my car, if I want to drive places.

    ▪    I have to pay my utility bills if I want access to water, electricity, gas, and garbage removal.

    ▪    I have to diet if I want to maintain my body at a size which is considered to be “normal” in our culture.


Dieting consistently to Maintain my Weight-loss is simply one of those basic ongoing tasks.





Dieting is So Much Harder than it Looks.
- POSTED ON: Jan 14, 2018

 
Just about every person who has spent time as a “yo-yo dieter” knows that dieting is a lot harder than it looks … emotionally, physically, and psychologically. 

Scientific findings present a bleak picture of the effectiveness of diets, in fact research indicates that 95% of all dieters will regain all of their lost weight in 1-5 years, plus more, and will wind up heavier than they were before dieting.

It is common knowledge that while “the Diet” gets credited for successful weight-loss,  weight re-gain is blamed on the dieter. If Viagra failed 95% of the time would we blame guys for not trying hard enough, or would we say that the medicine didn’t work?

Who would be foolish enough to buy a ticket on an airline which failed to get 95% of all passengers to their planned destination?  Yet, we choose to continue chasing the elusive target of  “forever thin”


Below is an excellent article by two scientific researchers on this subject.
 


How Your Body Fights Back
When You Diet

 
By Traci Mann and A. Janet Tomiyama


Diets do not work.


The scientific evidence is clear as can be that cutting calories simply doesn't lead to long-term weight loss or health gains.

We suspect most dieters have realized this by now too. And yet, here they are again, setting the same weight loss goal this year that they set last year.
   
The only people who don't seem to appreciate this are people who have never dieted.  It's particularly hard for them to believe because it doesn't square with their own eating experiences.

Take Nicky, for instance. She eats sensibly much of the time, with some junk food here and there, but it doesn't really seem to affect her weight. She's not a dieter. She is Naturally Thin Nicky, and it's not surprising that she believes what she sees with her own eyes and feels in her own body. Nevertheless, Nicky has it wrong.

We are researchers who have been studying why diets fail for a long time. We have seen that diet failure is the norm. We have also studied the stigma that heavy people face, and witnessed the blame game that happens when dieters can't keep the weight off. From a scientific perspective, we understand that dieting sets up an unfair fight.

But many Nickys we've encountered -- on the street, in the audience when we give talks, and even fellow scientists -- get confused when we say dieting doesn't work, because it doesn't square with their own observations.


An unfair fight

Nicky thinks she's thin because of the way she eats, but actually, genetics play a huge role in making her thin. Nicky gets all the credit though, because people see the way she eats and they can't see her genes.

Many heavy people wouldn't be lean like Nicky even if they ate the same foods in the same quantities. Their bodies are able to run on fewer calories than Nicky's, which sounds like a good thing (and would be great if you found yourself in a famine).

However, it actually means that after eating the same foods and using that energy to run the systems of their body, they have more calories left over to store as fat than Nicky does. So to actually lose weight, they have to eat less food than Nicky. And then, once they've been dieting a while, their metabolism changes so that they need to eat even less than that to keep losing weight.

It's not just Nicky's genetically given metabolism that makes her think dieting must work. Nicky, as a non-dieter, finds it really easy to ignore that bowl of Hershey's Kisses on her co-worker's desk.

But for dieters, it's like those Kisses are jumping up and down saying "Eat me!"

Dieting causes neurological changes that make you more likely to notice food than before dieting,
and once you notice it, these changes make it hard to stop thinking about it.

Nicky might forget those chocolates are there, but dieters won't.

In fact, dieters like them even more than before. This is because other diet-induced neurological changes make food not only taste better, but also cause food to give a bigger rush of the reward hormone dopamine. That's the same hormone that is released when addicts use their drug of choice. Nicky doesn't get that kind of rush from food.

And besides, Nicky is full from lunch. Here again, dieters face an uphill battle because dieting has also changed their hormones. Their levels of the so-called satiety hormone leptin go down, which means that now it takes even more food than before to make them feel full. They felt hungry on their diets all along, but now feel even hungrier than before. Even Nicky's regular non-diet lunch wouldn't make dieters full at this point.

Where's your willpower?

People see Nicky and are impressed with her great self-control, or willpower.

But should it really be considered self-control to avoid eating a food when you aren't hungry?

Is it self-control when you avoid eating a food because you don't notice it, like it or receive a rush of reward from it?


Anyone could resist the food under those circumstances. And even though Nicky doesn't really need willpower in this situation, if she did need it, it would function quite well because she's not dieting.

On top of everything else, dieting disrupts cognition, especially executive function, which is the process that helps with self-control. So dieters have less willpower right when they need more willpower. And non-dieters have plenty, even though they don't need any.

And of course, even if Nicky were to eat those tempting foods, her metabolism would burn up more of those calories than a dieter's metabolism.
 
So Nicky is mistakenly being given credit for succeeding at a job that is not only easy for her, but easier than the job dieters face.

The cruel irony is that after someone has been dieting for some time, changes happen that make it hard to succeed at dieting in the long run.

It is physically possible, and
a small minority of dieters do manage to keep weight off for several years. ...

... But not without a demoralizing and all-encompassing battle with their physiology the entire time.

It's easy to see why dieters usually regain the weight they lose on their New Year's resolution diet, and we have the following suggestions for when that happens:

If you are a Nicky, ...
... remember the self-denial these dieters have subjected themselves to and how little they were eating while you treated yourself to decadent desserts. Be impressed with their efforts, and grateful that you don't have to attempt it.

If you are a dieter,... 
... remind yourself that you aren't weak, but that you were in an unfair fight that very few win.


Traci Mann is a professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota and author of "Secrets from the Eating Lab." She has received grants from the National Institutes of Health, NASA and the USDA. A. Janet Tomiyama is an associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. She receives funding from the National Science Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


For more on this issue, read my recent DietHobby article, “Winner of the 5 percent Lottery of Hell”.




Eat Small to BE Small
- POSTED ON: Nov 30, 2017


You have to eat small to be small.  If you eat large, you will be large.
When reducing your meal-size,
it is Important to stick to your normal number of meals. 
If you just start eating smaller meals more frequently,
you're not necessarily eating less food overall,

you’re just reducing the amount you eat at each sitting.

A normal undistended stomach is about the size of your fist. This is really helpful in visualizing how much food to eat.  An average-size fist is about 1 cup. A bigger person usually has a bigger hand. A smaller person’s hand is usually smaller. 





Your own hand is a personalized (and portable) measuring device
for your food intake,
and can be helpful in estimating portion size. 


Taking in small meals to lose weight is not a foreign concept.  It’s been around for decades. Your body will show positive weight results if you:

    ▪    Eat at mealtimes only; and
    ▪    Eat no more than three meals daily,
and
    ▪    Visualize your fist over your plate at every meal,
and
    ▪    Make certain your entire meal’s food portion is NOT larger than your fist.


The digestive system is only able to digest a certain amount of food before it has to start storing the food for later.

Think of your stomach like a muscle. When it's filled with large meals three times a day, the distensibility (the scientific term for the amount your stomach walls can stretch) increases — just like your biceps would get bigger if you were working them out three times a day,

And when you head in the other direction — eating only small meals of a similar volume — your stomach's capacity drops.

After adapting to eating small meals with no food in-between you'll naturally feel full with less food, and your body will send signals to stop eating sooner.

So, if you regularly eat large meals, your stomach's distensibility (or ability to become stretched) will increase to accommodate the food. If you instead eat only small amounts at a time, your stomach's distensibility will decrease.

Remember, however, that without some type of bariatric surgery, one’s stomach reduction or expansion is only a Temporary measure.  The stomach will stay adapted to eating small meals only as long as one CONSISTENTLY eats only a small amount of food, of about the same small volume, at EVERY meal.  

Consistently practicing portion control has taught me to be more satisfied with the process of eating less food.  An IDEAL weight-loss or maintenance plan for ME is eating small food portions of approximately equal volume at three regular semi-set-mealtimes, with no in-between meal eating.

After bariatric surgery, the entire amount of the food on a person’s plate for their entire meal should be no larger than the palm of their hand.  I found that two Splenda packages exactly fit the palm of my hand.  So I took some photos of the packages, my hand, and my plates.



Below is a photo of that process.

Notice how a palm-sized food portion looks on four different size plates: A tiny dessert plate; a teacup size saucer; a salad plate; and a 10 inch dinner plate. For more, read my article, Palm of the Hand.

I've posted a great many of my actual meals here at DietHobby under the Menu Heading: RESOURCES, Photo Gallery.  The section, Petite Meals demonstrates some of my personal efforts at Portion Control.

One thing that I fully understand is that no matter how precisely I weigh and measure and record my food, it is impossible … due to many reasons…. for anyone living outside a laboratory to get a totally accurate calorie count.

However, tracking my food intake …which includes counting calories… has been essential to me in my own weight-loss and maintenance journey.  I do the best I can to track my food accurately, but (except for a temporary trick of the scale due to excess salt/water/waste)no matter WHAT number my calorie records give me… if my weight is increasing, it means that I need to manage, in some way, to eat fewer calories.

This is because eating only 100 calories above one's own individual-personal-energy-balance-point every day for one year will cause a 10 pound fat regain. 

Serving oneself on a very small plate is helpful for Portion Control.

Think small, eat small..... be small.....


Note: Originally posted in May 2017 - Bumped up for new viewers.



Palm of the Hand
- POSTED ON: Nov 29, 2017


The size of an adult woman’s palm is equal to somewhere between one-fourth and one-half cup depending on her basic frame size. 

Bariatric surgeon, Dr. Duc Vuong, says that his patients should always serve themselves only a very small portion of food, and that the entire amount of the food on their plate for their meal should be no larger than the palm of their hand. 

He makes an exception for salads consisting of ONLY green leafy vegetables, and says for a meal that consists of only raw leafy vegetables, the portion can be as large as the entire hand.  This recommendation is based on the fact that during the first 6 months or so after a person has Weight Loss Surgery, the stomach pouch will only stretch to about the size of the palm of the hand.

Dr. V talks about this in his Facebook videos.  He calls the rule, 2x2x1. The circumference of this food volume is the length of 4 fingers across the palm of the hand, and the height of the food volume is 1 finger. 


In his videos he demonstrates the concept of 2x2, by placing two fingers on one-half his palm, then two fingers on the other one-half of his palm.  Essentially, a “sleeve” gastric surgery results in a rectangular thin pouch (2x2), while a “RNY” gastric surgery results in about the same size square (2x2).

For a long time I’ve been working to eat very small food portions, and now I’m experimenting to see if I can tolerate eating meals that are only as large as the palm of my hand. 

This morning I found that two Splenda packages exactly fit the palm of my hand.  So I took some photos of the packages, my hand, my plate and my breakfast. 


Below is a photo of that process.

I learned that a portion of food the size of the palm of my hand
is even smaller than I previously believed.




Here's how a meal the size of my palm should look on my different size plates.

 

I've posted a great many of my actual meals here at DietHobby under the Heading at the top of the page, RESOURCES, Photo Gallery.  Those of you who are interested in Portion Control might want to take a look at the photos posted under various meal categories there.

 


Dr. Duc Vuong, the Support Surgeon


Five points made by Dr. V, a bariatric surgeon,
in his recent Facebook video: "How Much to Eat?"
(Recommending the amount of food-intake after gastric bypass surgery)

  1. Palm of Your Hand - a complete meal should be about the size of the palm of your hand.

  2. You Plate Your Own Food - Use a Very Small Plate - a small Teacup saucer size Plate

  3. 2x2x1 - The circumference of this food volume is the length of 4 fingers across the palm of your hand, and the height of the food volume is 1 finger. 

  4. Salad = the size of your whole hand. A leafy green salad is an exception to the 2x2x1 rule because it is a raw vegetable with very little density.

  5. Don’t Trust Your Brain!   Your brain wants you to eat more. Before eating, portion out an amount of food that is ONLY the size of the palm of your hand. Unless you do this, despite what your brain tells you, the amount of food that you will wind up eating will be more than the size of the palm of your hand. 

Note: Originally posted in May 2017 - Bumped up for new viewers.


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