Have you noticed all the rolls of fat and puffy skin that we are sporting now days. And I’m not just talking about middle-aged and older people, like myself. I see it on everyone—young and old alike. Just walk through the mall! It wouldn’t be so obvious, but all the young girls are wearing their shirts too tight. I’m not sure if they think it is sexy or if they just cannot afford to buy new clothes.
I think it could be all the added sugar in our diets. Sugar turns into fat, and it settles around our middle.
Harold has always been a slim man, but he has been fighting this battle of the bulge lately. He is concerned that his love handles may be here to stay. The man never eats dessert. He always buys low fat products. He exercises. In a restaurant I order the meal with the plum sauce and he orders the plain grilled salmon. He is better at this than I am, so why is he having this problem?
I just read a book called “The Skinny Rules: The Simple, Nonnegotiable Principles for Getting to Thin.” Written by Bob Harper with Greg Critser, it contains rules for losing weight and for maintaining. The book is almost two years old; but I just discovered it, when Harold and I were dining with a friend of his about a month ago. I noticed that Brad had lost a lot of weight. I mentioned it, and Brad started talking about this book that he said changed his life.
I’m no novice when it comes to diets. Years ago, when I was in my 40s, I gained about fifteen pounds over about fifteen years. I finally got fed up and decided to do something about it before I went over the 150 lb. mark. I tried the Atkins Diet, but I didn’t like the way it made me feel. I was always hungry—no not just hungry, ravenous. I tried the South Beach Diet, but I still had problems and felt hungry all the time. Finally, I went to see Jenny Craig, and the ladies there helped me totally change my eating habits.
I lost weight, all the way down to what I had weighed when I was 32 years old. It took me months, but I loved my old/new “me”. I weighed 127 lbs, but I felt I was too thin so I allowed myself to gain back to about 133 lbs. The most important lifestyle change I made during this time was watching my intake of fiber, making sure I was getting the amount my body needed. I loved vegetables and fruit, so I just increased them in my diet. I also stopped drinking sugary beverages. No more sweet tea or Cokes. This last one was really hard to give up.
I learned most of these lifestyle changes while on the South Beach Diet. What I learned from the Atkin’s Diet was that this food, weight and exercise thing is all about chemistry. The Atkin’s Diet, though, didn’t give me enough information to figure out the puzzle. Jenny Craig used all these lifestyle changes, and they taught me one more important change—portion control. I learned to gauge how much food to eat in comparison to the calories I received. I learned that I got enough calories to keep me satisfied from a very small portion of certain calorie rich foods. I retrained my mind to understand this and to stop the cravings. It worked. That is, until about two years ago.
I have fluctuated from about 134 to 137 lbs for the last two years. Lately, my weight creeped up to 138 to 139 lbs. I could cut out all breads and alcohol, and it would take me about three or four weeks to get back to 133 lbs; but then as soon as I went back to eating regularly the weight roared back. So I decided to try “The Skinny Rules”.
These writers certainly do understand the chemistry involved in eating. Let’s talk about one of the rules!
One of the rules involves learning to read labels. I have been reading labels for years. My biggest pet peave, or so I thought, was breads made of wheat. I’m as aggravated as the next person with the many, many different ways food manufacturers try to trick us into eating bread that is not a whole grain. It seems that most of the country thinks that “unbleached, enriched wheat” is better for you than “bleached flour”. The fact is, neither of them are good for you. If it is wheat break, the first ingredient must say 100% whole wheat; or it is not nutritious. In fact I’m certain it is like eating glue. My best way to check their claims is to look at the grams of fiber in a slice. If it has one gram of fiber, then they have striped out the good and left the glue. So I’m already pretty good at reading labels—or at least I thought I was!
“The Skinny Rules” just taught this old dog a new trick.
Here is what has changed my lifestyle again. The authors say that if sugar appears in the first five ingredients, then “keep walkin’”. So for the last several weeks, I’ve been walking the shopping aisles reading labels on foods that I thought were good, until now. Oh my gosh! I had no idea. It is amazing how many foods I have to put back on the shelves and in the freezer cases. I had no idea (sorry, I just had to say this twice). Frankly, I believe the authors should make this a rule all by itself.
Rule 21: If the food product has any type of sugar in the first five ingredients, don’t buy it! (Unless it is a dessert or candy. Sorry I just cannot help myself.)
Here’s an example of how we’re fooled. Harold was making one of his casseroles last Sunday evening. As I passed through the kitchen, I picked up one of the cans of corn that he was using as an ingredient. It was a low sodium version. On the label, though, the third ingredient was high fructose corn syrup. Harold was shocked and upset. He thought it was just corn. We started going through our pantry, and you wouldn’t believe the cereals, canned vegetables and soups that were laced with sugars of all types.
I went on “The Skinny Rules” diet, and in about a week and a half I lost all the weight needed. I’m back down to 133 lbs. I lost down to 135 lbs within the first five days. I have never had weight fall off of me so quickly in my life. I really liked his recipes, and I couldn’t eat all the food offered.
I love this lifestyle change. I will continue to read labels for sugar. I count it right up there with my zero calorie beverages, whole grains and fiber, and portion control.
Best result of all, the puffiness around my waist is gone! No more muffin top!!! Even over a month later!
There are other rules, and I’ll go through some more later.