Beating obesity: Eat the right food

Good Food — Bad Food

Just as it is impossible and not even desirable to totally eliminate sugar, fat and salt from your diet it is equally impossible to unequivocally create a solid list of all good foods and all bad foods, but good choices can and must be made. Here is an example of a typical dinner for me back in the days when I was just a tad under 300 pounds.

One vanilla milk shake                    560 calories         26 grams fat        272 mg salt

Half a roasted chicken                    1890 calories       30 grams fat        3720 mg salt

Mashed potatoes with gravy           230 calories         5 grams fat         780 mg salt

Peas                                      134 calories                         1 gram fat            383 mg salt


TOTALS                                       2814 calories       62 grams fat        5155 mg salt


That was just one meal and just the staggering amount of salt was well over any reasonable estimate of a daily maximum. But guess what, I eat peas so I told myself I had a healthy meal. That is known as self-deception and it can be deadly. ndeed in my case it came damn close. So I made a few lifestyle changes and here is my typical evening meal these days.

One cup of mixed vegetables          120 calories         1 gram fat    64 mg salt

Four ounces white chicken meat      141 calories       3 grams fat  99 mg salt

One slice flaxseed bread                 50 calories            1 gram fat   60 mg salt

One half cantaloupe                        95 calories             1 gram fat   44 mg salt


TOTALS                                       406 calories               6 grams fat   267 mg salt

Bad food
Bad food

I am not going to offer up a whole bunch of specific meal ideas. There are plenty of books available on that topic. But in broad terms pretty much anything that grows from the ground is good with some rather obvious exceptions such as hemlock and opium poppies

Lettuce, kale, tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries, apples, onions, pears and carrots are just some of the good foods. Even fish in general and salmon in particular along with skinless white meat make it into my list of good foods because I am not a vegan.

Bad foods to avoid include pretty much anything that is processed, such as sausages of all kinds and anything that comes in a can. With truly rare exceptions donuts, cookies, cakes, pies and ice cream have made it to my do not eat list.

So now you should start to focus on creating a menu that is right for you. For weight loss the single most important number is calories, but that is by no means the only important number. Fat content and salt content are also very important.

Virtually all foods sold in super markets today have a nutritional content label on them. Obviously fresh fruits and vegetables as well as fresh meats and fish do not have such a label but those nutritional values are easily found online HERE. You may also install either the S Health or the My Fitness Pal app on your smart phone. Both provide extensive nutritional information about pretty much everything even slightly edible. The one big take away from all of this is always know exactly what you are eating. Get the specific information and diligently work at reducing both fat and salt along with the calories.

Good food
Good food

At first you might find these changes to be a bit challenging. But stick with it and what you will cheerfully discover is that over time you will increasingly begin to enjoy the good foods much more and the bad foods much less. One personal example out of many is fried chicken. I used to love fried chicken. Now the mere smell turns me off. But I will admit I still sometimes struggle a wee bit with French fries when I end up with my granddaughter at McDonalds. But these days it is four or five pieces and no longer one super-sized bag of fries. So at the end of the day it really comes down to getting the facts and exercising self-control. It can be tough but it can be done and the positive results make it all worthwhile.

And remember you can win a copy of my book Lose Live by simply sharing your favorite walking experience. Send your story to me by email to:

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Copyright © 2016 Ron Irwin


Photos by Ron Irwin unless otherwise noted

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