Recently, a friend said to me, “As I get older, I am expending fewer calories each day. I find my taste buds demand that I eat food heavy in calories, such as fried foods and delicious sweets. I find that my abdominal girth is rapidly (I wish I can say slowly) expanding. I feel I have completely lost control of my diet, weight and girth. What do you suggest I do to get control of my health?”
Answer to a question like this is usually simple, “Eat less and exercise more.”
What most of us do is, exercise and eat carefully for a few months. We get fit, we look good, and we feel healthy and then we become lax. The enthusiasm and the challenge of losing weight run out. We get busy with other things. Then suddenly the clothes do not fit. We get frustrated and depressed. And we start the cycle all over again.
It’s no rocket science to remember that regular exercise, healthy eating and counting calories is a must for staying healthy. Thirty to 60 minutes of daily exercise makes you feel better and helps improve and maintain your health. It does not matter what kind of exercise you do or whether you do all at one time. You can exercise 10 minutes three to six times a day. Important thing is to keep doing something.
Eating healthy and eating less poses the same sort of challenge as doing regular exercise. You should establish certain routine in how you eat and what you eat. Eating slowly and chewing well helps. Cooking and eating at home is better than eating at a restaurant or picking up fast food at lunch or on your way home after work. Eating out means consuming about 30 per cent more calories than you would normally do when you eat at home.
Fruits and vegetables in your diet is a must. Follow Canada’s Food Guide available at Health Canada web site, Health Unit or your dietitian. Make a list of dangerous and what I call killer foods which you should avoid at all cost – these are foods which we commonly eat but are dangerous to our health. My short list of killer foods includes French fries, bagels, croissants, donuts, double cheese burgers, fried fast food chicken, and ice-cream.
Let me tell you little bit about French fries. Potatoes have been around for about 200 years. French fries have been around for about 150 years. The first chip fried in Britain was in 1860 and first sold by a Belgium immigrant in 1870. Who invented the French fry? The honour goes to Belgians.
Only in North America we use the term French fry. In Britain they are called “chips” and in Belgium they are called “patat” and in France “pommes frited” which literally means fried apples. French fries have nothing to do with France. But the name is stuck because the Americans think it started in France.
An average size boiled potato has about 100 calories. If it is sliced and deep fried then naturally the calories almost double. Then you add Ketchup, sour cream, bacon bits or some other sauce, the calories almost triple. Next time you get a serving of French fries, guess how many potatoes have been sliced for that serving and then do your math. To me, eating French fries is like smoking a cigarette, they are both lethal.
In Canada and U.S., 25 per cent of the vegetables consumed are prepared as French fries. This has resulted in widespread obesity. French fries are loaded with saturated fat and trans fat. These are very dangerous substances and can cause blood vessel and heart diseases.
Space does not allow me to detail other killer foods. But you get the point.
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