Part 1 in the Runtex University Bucky & Bob Speaking Series
My husband tells me that I eat more food than anyone that he knows. He’s probably right. I can eat large volume of food. I also remember as a kid going to an ice cream parlor with my sister. After I finished mine, I finished hers too. She looked at me & stated "Your stomach is a bottomless pit."
Looking back, it’s really not a mystery to me that I ended up overweight, but also that I’ve devised a few really good strategies for being able to eat, not depriving myself & still being able to maintain my smaller size.
1) Don’t Drink Your Calories
Have you seen the calorie counts on some of the Starbucks coffee drinks? A Venti Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino® Blended Crème has 670 Calories! That’s about a third of my calorie budget! Plus, in order to burn that drink off, I would have to run for 7 miles.
The process of chewing is very satisfying; it also tells the brain that we’re eating. Although the body will absorb & process the caloires that we consume in liquid form, oftentimes our brains don’t know that we’ve eaten, and we get ‘snacky’; wanting to eat but maybe we’re not physically hungry.
THink about this: If you were to take two similar oranges, juice one & peel the other, which one would be more satisfying? They both have the same number of calories, however drinking the juice of one orange could be done in two gulps, and eating the orange will take longer, and be more satisfying because you’re chewing.
What To Do Instead
- Drink water. If you don’t like the taste (or lack of taste) of water, add flavor; steep it with citrus fruits, add some Crystal Light.
- I’m not going to say drink diet soda (although it’s better than full-sugar) – if you’re addicted to the diet stuff, at least alternate every other soda for water, and eventually limit it to one per week.
- Coffee & Tea are fine, just limit the calories you’re adding to them (milk, cream, sugar).
2) Eat Your Vegetables
Eating lots of non-starchy vegetables is my secret weapon in my war against my weight. I’ve already written about it here:
Vegetables are high in fiber (fills you up), high in vitamins & minerals (good for your body), high in water content (again, fills you up), and low in calories. Wisegeek put together a really great webpage that shows you exactly what 200 calories of each food looks like. Notice how much more volume 200 calories of broccoli is compared to 200 calories of peanut butter.
What To Do Instead
I have two strategies here.
- Whenever I make a recipe, I always double the vegetables. The Sneaky Chef also has some great strategies for adding (read: hiding) fruits & vegetables to foods that don’t necessarily call for them (it’s a GREAT cookbook). One of my Faves is making mashed potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes: I cut up & boil equal parts potato & cauliflower. Drain, Mash & season as usual. YUM with a fraction of the calories!
- When eating my meal, I start with the low-calorie items (veggies) and move to the higher calorie foods. A salad is a fantastic starter because it will create bulk in your stomach, just watch the amount of salad dressing you’re adding!
3) Prepare Your Own Food
Eight Scripps-owned TV stations in different cities had reporters order a total of about twenty so-called "healthier" meal options at Applebee’s, Macaroni Grill, Chili’s, Cheesecake Factory, etc. The food was then sent to a lab to be tested, to see if the nutritional stats provided by the restaurants were accurate. The results were ASTOUNDING, to say the least. The worst offender of the bunch was one of the Pollo Magro "Skinny Chicken" samples from Macaroni Grill. It contained nowhere near the "less than 6g fat and 500 calories" the menu claims (let alone the 330 calories and 5g fat listed on the website’s nutritional page) — it actually had over 1,000 calories and just under 50 grams of fat. INSANE! (FYI, a "Skinny Chicken" sample taken from another city actually had only 320 calories, but still contained 14g fat. So you never know!) All four items that were tested from the Chili’s Guiltless Grill menu contained more than twice the fat they should have had — the Guiltless Chicken Platter actually had more than 30g fat, as opposed to the 9 grams claimed by Chili’s! Many of the other offerings had about 100 more calories and 13 additional fat grams than they were supposed to. Instead of just crying over this, let’s be reasonable and take away some valuable info here…
For the video & full lab results on the items tested, click here — it’s worth checking out.
What To Do Instead
- You can never fully trust the restaurant nutritionals you read on websites and menus. There are too many unknowns (like who is actually preparing the food, how closely they follow directions and measurements, etc.).
- Pay VERY close attention to your food. If the portion seems WAY too large to have the calories listed, chances are it has more calories. If it is supposed to have 6g fat and it is floating in oil, trust me– it DOESN’T contain just 6 grams of fat (sorry!).
- For more control over your meal, special order when you can — even the "lighter" dishes. Ordering things grilled or steamed with sauce on the side is the best way to go.
- Ordering items listed as "diet-friendly" or "light" is still probably better than ordering standard menu options — if the stats are off on the lighter dishes, just imagine how bad the regular stuff could really be!
- Prepare your own food whenever possible. This way you know what you’re eating.