Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Take Away Tummy

How to get rid of it for good

I’m told I have a take away tummy. Basically that means despite good arms and legs, and a face that doesn’t resemble a hot air balloon, I have nevertheless got a boep of FF proportions. In silhouette I am heavily pregnant. I want to start living better today.

Cue Bob Greene, Oprah’s neighbor. His Best Life Diet is not so much profound as it is laden with common sense.
For example, before you even start thinking of foods to avoid, what to eat and what to do, you first have to come out of denial. You first have to – GASP – weigh yourself.
When I did I nearly panicked. I was 88kg and wanted to run out of the Virgin Active change room.

Greene advises that you don’t check your weight again for at least a month; meanwhile you need to get busy avoiding:

1) Sodas
2) High fat takeaways (chips, chicken and meat)
3) White bread
4) Alcohol
5) Dairy

I go further than Green to promote the consumption of high fibre foods, and to avoid meats, not including fish. Why? Because then you’re only left with three major foods, essentially, to consume: fruits, vegetables and fish. All of these are non fat, even fish fats are the least oily.

But Greene does provide more useful advice to improve our health without taxing the lifestyle too much. We’ve heard these before:
1) Drink more water
2) Don’t eat meals after 7pm.

It make sense not to get into a situation where one is HUNGRY. It may seem common sensical, but the danger of becoming hungry is that one finds oneself desperate and impatient for grub, and these signals override all the messages we’ve ardently studied and taken to heart. We just want to eat and quench our thirst!
So what actually happens when you have to have 5 or 6 small, and decent meals throughout the day, is you are disciplining yourself not only in terms of the effort of preparing these small square meals, but also having the discipline to stop working/watching TV etc to eat. Being balanced is therefore an act of will. And being able to repetitively act on one’s will is a habit, and a habit does require motivation and dedication. The good news is once the habit is set, it’s good for a long run, and the benefits feedback to support the habit. So in the beginning, hang in there.

A final point is that we want to raise our average daily metabolism to match our average daily consumption of calories. This means we must intentionally find ways (and go out of our way) to be physically active. So park further away from ATM’s or shops than necessary. Walk to and from shops. Fetch someone’s fax for them (pretend to be kind, but really, you’re watching the size of your butt). Find reasons to get up out of your chair, even if it is once per hour, just to get the engine to chew down a lettuce leaf.

Implicit of course in any weight loss strategy is exercise. You won’t need to exercise nearly as much if you’re eating properly throughout the day, and not stagnating behind your desk all week.

In late August then we’ll discuss the obstacles to motivation, and how to overcome them. Meanwhile good luck, see you in a month’s time when I hope you and I will be both be sexier, with Spring just around the corner.

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