Thursday, October 13, 2011

Do not blame the bread

In my opinion, I think the number one reason that people are unable to lose weight and stay committed to an exercise plan, is that they get overwhelmed at the beginning.  They start reading articles about what foods to eat or how much exercise is enough.  It’s almost as if an overweight person is doomed before they even get started.  Overloaded by information from the internet, magazines, friends and family, they try to change too much of their diet right away.  Also, they may start to work out, but if they can’t keep up with the recommended exercise plan, they end up feeling discouraged and quit trying.  These are real challenges which people face because they don’t know where to start.  Let me help you, by sharing some of my experiences.

Take for example, all of the literature on whole wheat verses white bread.  If you are like me, the reason I was overweight was not because I ate white bread instead of whole wheat bread.  I was overweight because when we go out to eat, I would eat close to ten rolls!  I can think of a certain chain steak restaurant from down under who served delicious hot wheat bread.  When I would visit there, I would easily eat four or five loaves of bread.

Another mistake I made was focusing too much on measuring my cereal or worrying if my portions for dinner were too big, instead of examining the amount of junk food I ate during the day. I remember going to the bakery and picking up about six to ten cookies at a time and eating them in one sitting!  In the summer, I would frequently buy an ice cream bar after lunch, and then after returning to the office, since the day was already messed up, I would go to the vending machine and grab a candy bar and chips. Once I cut out the junk food and relaxed a little, the weight started to come off. 

Now let’s discuss the "forbidden" diet foods like bread, potatoes and pasta that so many articles will tell you to stay away from.  Here is my suggestion to you, if you love bread as much as I do. 
Don’t cut it out of your diet, and don’t switch to whole wheat right away.  First, try to control the portions of the white bread you eat and then gradually make the switch to whole wheat.  You might end up loving the taste of it, as I do.

Potatoes, mmmm.  I love potatoes, whether they are sweet, red or just plain white potatoes.  I chop them up into bite sized pieces and cook them in the oven for about an hour, after mixing them with some extra virgin olive oil, garlic powder, and paprika.  There is no reason not to incorporate this hearty vegetable into your diet, as long as you eat a sensible portion.  The same applies to pasta, which I also use in a lot of my meals as a great side dish.  But remember, whether you eat white pasta or whole wheat pasta as I usually do, if you eat too much at a sitting, then you will have trouble losing weight.  I have found that 1/2 cup dry pasta works really well for me.

Another trick I’ve learned in my quest for balance is that it is actually helpful to keep a little processed food in the freezer for a quick meal on the nights I do not feel like cooking.  I work close to nine hours a day with a commute of 45 - 60 minutes.  When I come home from work, it is important to me to spend time with my family.  As much as I enjoy cooking and making my own meals, some days there isn’t enough time, or I am just too tired to cook.  Being able to rely on a frozen chicken patty makes for a quick and easy meal.  I put it in the toaster oven and then have it on a piece of pita or a roll with a vegetable on the side.

So remember, don’t let the information overload drive you crazy.  You can do it.  Try not to get stuck on the little details, keep sight of the big picture, and you will reach your goals.  Good luck! 

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