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It's Not What You Eat

by John Raven, Ph.B.

It's not what you eat that makes you fat; it's how much of it.

We seem to be fixated on trying to lose weight. There have probably been as many books written about losing weight as there have been about religion. I think with most people, trying to lose weight qualifies as a religion.

I consider myself somewhat of an authority on the subject. I have been fat since I was about ten years old. I do not come from a family of large people. When I was four years old we moved onto a farm and within a couple of years a dairy was established there. The provided me all the milk, cream and butter I could hold and more. By the time I was twelve years old I weighed 180 pounds. I was a sixth grader bigger than the high school football team linemen. My folks thought it was great for me to grow up to be such a big boy.

When I was 21 years old, I weighed in at a hefty 300 pounds. I maintained that weight until I got to be about 60, when I ballooned out.

I went on weight loss diets a couple of times with fair success. The first time I was still in high school and became attracted to a girl. I decided my attraction quotient would be higher if there was less of me. I simply made a conscious effort to eat less. It worked fairly well. Then I became attracted to something else and ate myself back to my previous weight.

In midlife, I decided I needed to shape up a bit. Again, I simply ate less. I dropped about 85 pounds in six months. This program was derailed when friends started taking me aside and saying, "You have lost so much weight; you're dying of cancer aren't you?" To end this, I just resumed my usual calorie intake.

In my sixties I decided I needed to take some weight off my aching legs. The Atkins Diet was "in" at that time. I gave old Doc Atkins a shot and lost about 35 pounds in just a little while. The problem here was I got to craving carbohydrates so bad, I would have mugged a little old lady for a glass of tomato juice. The body wants the carbs. Once you try the Atkins diet and you decide to give it another whirl, you will find it takes a lot longer for the weight loss to begin. Also, for some reason, the Atkins diet does not work for women near as well as it does for men..

Which brings us to the current "Raven-Eat-Less-Lose-More" diet. I've dropped about 40 pounds in the past ten weeks just eating less calories. Calories are how you measure how much you eat. Just about everything you buy has a calorie content on the label. You have to read the fine print. The calories are listed by the "serving". The size of the serving can vary, but on things like salad dressing, the serving size is two tablespoons. Two tablespoons of regular Thousand Island dressing contains 120 calories. Now if you have a large salad and dump on a half cup of dressing, you are adding 480 calories to the dish. You just have to learn to live with smaller portions.

Up until I started this diet, my standard breakfast was two strips of bacon, two eggs and four flour tortillas. The bacon will run about 200 calories per strip or 400 calories for the bacon. The eggs run about 80 calories per, giving you another 160 calories and the tortillas weigh in at 100 calories per giving you a grand total of 960 calories. If you have a little cream and sugar in your coffee or a dab of jelly on your tortilla, you have run up to a thousand calories just for breakfast, and that is half the recommended calorie intake for an average person per day.

For me, breakfast is the easiest meal to cut down on. Now I have one strip of bacon, one egg and one slice of Nature's Own "Light" bread which has only forty calories. I use Splenda in my coffee and a little of that plastic cream that comes in the bottle. This amounts to only fifteen or twenty more calories. That gives me a 340-calorie breakfast, and I'm full afterwards.

I don't count calories for every meal and snack. Over the years, I have learned about how much of anything I can have without stressing my calorie counter.

You will be hungry on this diet. But, if you stick with the smaller portions for about two weeks, your stomach will come to think of the smaller portions as a meal and will be content with them. There will come a point where you cannot eat as much as you once did.

There is a difference between hunger and craving. People now days seldom feel hunger pains. They experience a craving for food. Eating is a habit. You get addicted to food. It's like good dope. It makes you feel real good for a little while, and then you start to feel bad, so you want more of the dope to make you feel good again.

Another thing that makes dieting difficult is, "It's time to eat." Meals come at a set time. No matter that you had a big snack an hour ago. It's time to sit down and eat a good meal. To me 7 a.m., noon and 5 p.m. are the times you eat. That has been my routine nearly all my life. I find myself going and eating even though I am not hungry.

The only way you are going to lose weight is to make up your mind that you really want to do it. Your husband or your wife can't decide for you. Your mama and daddy can't decide for you. Your kids can't decide for you.

You have to decide for yourself to lose weight.

That is the only way it is going to happen.

Next time I have a few things I have learned through the years that may help you.

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