The “Diet” Strategy

Serve Less Food for Family Weight Loss

There are several reasons we cook more food than before: more money, less time, two working parents, better preservatives, and better refrigeration.

With an icebox, leftover food spoiled, so cooks counted how many would attend a meal and prepared just the right amount. If the cook estimated too low, everyone took a little less. With modern refrigeration, we no longer worry about making too much, and quite often, a few extra guests could appear and no one would suffer.

Also in the past, the “typical” family had a working spouse and a cooking spouse. Today, one form of the “typical” family includes a working spouse and a cooking-and-working spouse, and for them, the ability to preserve leftovers is a welcome relief from every-day, every-meal cooking. We now plan for leftovers by cooking extra, then without thinking, we put far more food on the table, enabling larger first portions and then seconds and thirds.

With modern preservatives, refrigeration, and transport, per capita calorie intake has doubled as more of what we grow reaches the market and more of what we buy reaches our stomach.

You could buy and cook less food, or instead, right after food preparation, set aside for leftovers and serve much less food on your table.

Start With A Modest Reduction, Then Make Adjustments

A recent patient described the ten-minute lunch he enjoys four days per week: a double cheeseburger, a chicken sandwich, a large order of fries, and a large diet soda, totaling 1380 calories. He only needs 1800 calories per day, so for him, eating half to two-thirds would be a fair start.

Many people take twice the calories they need, so eating half to two-thirds, before the pause, is a reasonable starting point, though you could try any other convenient reduction in volume. After the pause, make small adjustments as needed.

Stick To 3 Meals Daily

Every meal or snack is an opportunity to exceed calorie goals, if by even just a little, so try to avoid snacking, even with low-calorie snacks.

Ideally, satisfaction wanes and hunger rises in the hour before the next meal. If you are hungry much earlier, then rethink the constitution of your last meal. Eat a balanced diet, including fruits and vegetables, but to prolong satisfaction, try increasing the amount of protein in each meal.

Maintain a schedule of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and keep a 12- to 16-hour fast between dinner and breakfast. To restore a three-meal schedule (and eliminate snacking), you may need to adjust what you eat (always with a little protein) to hold hunger at bay till shortly before your next meal.

To reduce nighttime acid reflux, go to bed with an empty stomach by not eating within two hours of bedtime.

Reduce Carbohydrates

This excerpt is from Before You Spend $26,000 on Weight-Loss Surgery, Do This, by Sarah Hallberg and Osama Hamdysept, The New York Times Sunday Review, September 10, 2016, accessed September 12, 2016:

When someone has diabetes, he can no longer produce sufficient insulin to process glucose (sugar) in the blood. To lower glucose levels, diabetics need to increase insulin, either by taking medication that increases their own endogenous production or by injecting insulin directly. A patient with diabetes can be on four or five different medications to control blood glucose, with an annual price tag of thousands of dollars.

Yet there’s another, more effective way to lower glucose levels: Eat less of it.

Glucose is the breakdown product of carbohydrates, which are found principally in wheat, rice, corn, potatoes, fruit and sugars. Restricting these foods keeps blood glucose low. Moreover, replacing those carbohydrates with healthy protein and fats, the most naturally satiating of foods, often eliminates hunger. People can lose weight without starving themselves, or even counting calories.

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