In other words, I understand that you can't change your lifestyle just because you've decided to lose weight. Your lifestyle depends on such a wide range of factorsfamily, location, professionthat you need food choices that fit your lifestyle, rather than the other way around.
The idea is to help you see your choices, no matter what circumstances you're in or what lifestyle you follow. The right solution is the one that helps you eat healthfully, lose weight, and not feel deprived.
The Stress Connection
Do you eat more or more erratically when you're feeling a lot of stress?
For so many people, food is a stress reliever. And from what I have seen, people these days are under a lot more stress than they were in the past.
More women are juggling jobs and families. Men and women are spending more hours on the job. Of course, it's true that my office is located in New York City, one of the stress capitals of the world. But I think that what I see is replicated in many other places in this country.
Americans as a whole tend to be workaholics. Many people work two jobs to maintain the high standard of living to which they aspire. And in many two-career families, time is at a premium.
Not long ago, I began working with a group of police officers who were just starting Food Awareness Training as part of a health-improvement program.
We all know about big-city cops. Can you imagine a higher-stress job? But I was interested to learn that on-the-job stress wasn't necessarily their biggest concern. For many of them, the stress that they reported came from being so busy.
Many have spouses who also work. So a typical off-duty police officer has to take on a large share of household responsibilities. After they get home, they have to look after home maintenance, cleaning, cooking, and child care. For themas for so many of usthese are the stresses that really add up.
The result? To many of these cops, food was a comfort and a reward. One officer told me that his biggest problem was snacking after 11:00 P.M. Not until thenafter his workday was over and the domestic duties were taken care ofcould he kick back and relax. And that's when he reached for snack foods.
I could not only sympathize but also empathize. For me, too, that's a time of day when I can wind down and when I am most tempted by food.
So what can we do?
In my view, late-night snacking is not necessarily bad. If that's the only time of day when you can get a break, why not enjoy it? But I helped the policeman by showing him that there are a number of satisfying and delicious snacks lower in calories than what he was eating. When he felt like sitting down for a snack, he could eat foods like pretzel rods, fruit, low-calorie frozen fudge bars, or Creamsicles.
I didn't tell him not to eat. I didn't tell him that he was eating for the wrong reasons. I just helped him make some different choicesequally satisfying and enjoyable, but for just a fraction of the calories.
Why You Gain Weight
As your own tastebuds will tell you again and again, food is not a villain.
Most of us love it. And that's a good thing because we need food for growth and repair of tissues. We need all that pent-up nutritional power to help meet our energy needs.
It's not the food itself but the storage process that makes us unhappy. If we eat more than we need for immediate use, our bodies put it into cozy, comfortable storage cells. Where are those cells located? You already know the answer. Most of the plump fat cells are located in the trouble spots that we know aboutbellies, hips, thighs, buttocks, and all the other areas that have fat-holding cells.
Reprinted from Dr. Shapiro's Picture Perfect Weight Loss: The Visual Program for Permanent Weight Loss by Dr. Howard M. Shapiro, Copyright 2000. Permission granted by Rodale, Emmaus, PA 18098. Available wherever books are sold or directly from the publisher by calling (800)848-4735 or visit Rodale's website at www.rodalestore.com.
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