My Cardinal Rules Of Eating

In the last entry I mentioned one of my cardinal rules of eating: eat like a king at breakfast, like a prince at lunch and like a pauper at dinner.  That is one of several rules that I have learned to follow in my daily battle to stay healthy and thin (though one doesn’t necessarily go with the other.)  Here is a list of some, though not all, of those rules:

1. Eat like a king at breakfast - It makes sense when you think about it.  This is when you break your fast.  Your body is depleted of nutrients and water.  Conversely, it makes a lot less sense to eat a lot shortly before you go to sleep, when you will be burning calories at a lower rate then you would during the day.

2.  Weigh yourself every day when you first get up in the morning - I know.  Many so-called experts discourage weighing each day.  I think they believe that you will be discouraged by the inevitable fluctuations in weight.  An average weight over a week is a much better measure of your weight than a day to day reading.  But if you understand those fluctuations, you won’t be bothered if the reading is a couple of pounds higher than yesterday’s.  A daily weigh-in keeps you motivated to stick to your plan.

3.  Don’t eat dessert unless you’re still hungry -  There are times, particularly after a long bike ride, where I am very hungry and my metabolism is running hot and I can put down a milkshake or a piece of pie a la mode with no lasting problem.  But I try to avoid eating sweets as a matter of habit.  This is very hard to avoid, given the availability of sweet foods and drinks.

4.  Avoid sugared soft drinks.  I used to drink several bottles of soda each day.  Each of those bottles was loaded with empty calories of sugar.  Each contained 20 ounces.  Now I might have soda once or twice a week, usually when we eat out over the weekend.  This alone made a huge difference on keeping my weight down.

5.  Learn to recognize when you’re hungry and make sure you eat.  I used to eat because I was anxious, because I was curious how something tasted or simply because I was bored.  Now I seldom eat unless I am really hungry.  But when I am hungry I now make sure I get something healthy to eat quickly.  I don’t deny myself and then overcompensate by gorging later.  The paradox is, now I am very seldom hungry for long, even though I eat a lot less than I used to do.

6.  Keep the serving size small -  This might be the most important rule of all and it takes a long time to really master.  We live, I believe, in a world where we are encouraged to consume various products, including food products, in large quantities.  I remember in the early 1970s when a large soft drink was 12 ounces, instead of 24-28 ounces.  Restaurant portions are usually far too ample.

7.  Keep a healthy food supply near you at all times -  We also live in an environment filled with bad food choices.  Defend yourself by packing a healthy lunch and leave nutritious snacks in a desk drawer or the office refrigerator in case you get hungry during the day.  I like oatmeal, apples, red and green peppers, blueberries and strawberries.  Plan your meals in advance, when you can.

8.  Beware of food that is just lying around - Work is an especially dangerous place for a diet.  People seem to think that that they are being helpful by dumping a large container of sweets in the office kitchen, where co-workers are encouraged to help themselves.  If I am really hungry and I don’t overdo it, I will occasionally indulge, but usually I avoid these traps.

9.  Don’t deprive yourself of anything. This is about burning more calories and consuming fewer calories.  It shouldn’t seem like a big chore.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s OK to have a hamburger or a hot fudge sundae from time to time.   You’ll just see me get a smaller size.

10.  Beware of the evening - This is the most dangerous time of day for me.  It’s when I tend to fall off the wagon and pull out that container of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.  Find something healthy to snack on, if you must nibble.

The last suggestion I have, not a cardinal rule, is this:  Don’t expect your friends, co-workers and family to support you in your efforts.  They may or they may not.  Seeing someone else lose weight isn’t always something that makes everybody happy and sometimes people are confused.  I had several family members ask if there was something wrong with my health.

But that’s a good kind of problem to have.

I find that in the weight control world, good habits are crucial and you have to have a system that works for you on a long-term basis.  If you can find a way that works, the results can be remarkable.  It has changed my view of myself and what I was physically able to do.


2 comments to My Cardinal Rules Of Eating

  1. Paul Kramer
    November 16th, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Another tip: Eat foods that require a lot of effort to consume. Really crunchy granola is exhausting-you’ll be too tired from chewing to eat more than just a bit-while with everyday “flakes” you’ll refill the bowl three times without even noticing. Likewise, eat pizza and toast that’s really well done and crispy. Foods that take time and effort to chew will make a difference because they allow your “feeling full” signals to kick in before it’s too late. Along the same lines: Keep the freezer really, really cold so you’ll only have the strength to chip out a small serving of ice cream.

  2. Dov Koller
    November 17th, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Very good tips!!

    Another good tip: eat all your carbs during breakfast and lunch.
    Dinner time only eat proteins and Green Vegetables. I lost 9.5 pound in 4 week with this diet. Most important count you calories.
    You should know how many calories your body need for the day to stay the same weight or lose weight . Dov K.

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