I've been tracking everything I eat lately, and putting some calorie numbers on them.
Indian food: Rice, chicken, curry, vegetables.. Small banana. 900 cal.
Lunch: Big portion rice, curry sauce, chicken. 1000 cal.
Lunch: Two kinds of vegetables (one in very light curry), piece of chicken. 400 cal.
This is kind of crazy. The only difference is, I ordered more vegetables and didn't get any curry on the chicken.
I put together a text file with the calories of everything I'm eating regularly in it, and it's quick to look up from. Here's two sections:
1 cup of oatmeal = 150 calories
1 cup of rice = 200 calories
Slice of raisin bread = 70+ cal
Slice of wheat bread = 70 cal
Noodles, two cups = 400 cal
Chicken breast, 4 oz serving = 200 cal
Tuna, 4 oz serving = 130 cal
Peanut butter, tablespoon = 95 cal
10 peanuts = 60 cal
Egg = 70 cal
Carbs aren't bad. Not really. But it's easy to eat more calories of carbs, since for me they seem to fill up less. A small piece of chicken is 200 calories satisfies quite a bit.
But the big portion of rice has 400-600 calories in it, and fills up and satisfies much less.
Vegetables have almost no calories in them. Close enough to zero that I don't bother counting calories in any vegetables I eat (like 10 or 20 calories per serving, which is nothing).
By swapping rice for more vegetables and cutting out curry, a 1000 calorie meal becomes a 400 calorie meal.
So I was thinking about this more, and I saw the Bodybuilding.com Recipes Thread.
It made me think. There's probably six things that you need to consider to eat healthier:
It was very simple and easy for me to get no rice and get more vegetables instead. It was a good meal, it tasted fine, and filled me up just as much as the rice. Indian restaurants serve nice vegetables.
I think those six points are key. To swap out food, you need to have the taste and consistency be okay for you. Take a look at this post that includes an "ice cream" recipe -
Frozen Banana Protein Ice Cream
* 1 frozen banana, cut into pieces before freezing
* 2 tbsp skim milk (or your favorite milk substitute)
* ½ scoop (16 g) vanilla whey protein powder
Add all ingredients to your food processor and blend until smooth and whipped-looking. Using a spatula, scrape “ice cream” into serving bowl. Enjoy!
Tip: If the banana gets mashed and stuck on the bottom of the container so the blades can’t get to it, just add a little more milk to get it moving.
Makes 1 serving
Fat: 1 g
Carbs: 31 g
Protein: 14 g
I was thinking. I'm pretty disciplined, I don't care if I get happiness from food. I get my happiness and pleasure in other places.
But some people really love food, and asking them to cut out ice cream might not work... but, you show them a recipe like that where they're getting the good taste of ice cream, and the cold/smooth consistency, and that should help them a lot.
Satiety is just a fancy word for "filling" - a lot of people try to just eat less of the same stuff, so they don't feel very good. I think you've got to increase the water you drink and vegetables you eat, and other filling low calorie or better calorie foods. Vegetables help a lot if you want lower calories. Oatmeal is good too, very filling.
The last three all go together. Availability, habit, and knowledge. I think it's definitely possible to eat healthy almost anywhere, but you need the knowledge about what's good and what isn't. This works hand in hand with habit - normally I'd walk into the Indian food place, they'd put rice on the plate and some chicken and maybe one vegetable. This is just normal, this is what everyone does. It's only after I get the knowledge of how much lower calories would be without the rice that I ask them to do it differently.
I think if you can get those six factors right, then it becomes very easy to eat healthy. Learn what food is healthy and suited for your goals, get healthy food that has a taste and consistency that you like, that fills you up, learn where you can get it or how to prepare it easily, and build the habit of getting the healthy stuff instead of the junk.
Sebastian, have you considered the science writer Gary Taubes' arguments?
His CNN appearance:
"Good Calories, Bad Calories"
I was an obsessive health-freak for a good part of my late teens. I finally got rid of the obsessive part. =)
Food psychology is one of those tricky topics, where everyone needs an idiosyncratic approach. Some are lucky to be able to regulate appetite well, but the vast majority have to stumble for a couple of years to make it, typically going from not caring, too being obsessive, then finally settling on a maintenance-free pattern.
Good luck. I'm sure you'll find success with your strategy. =)
This topic kind of worries me. I have been on a diet for almost 4 months (I want to gain a bit more mass and have a healthier life) that my nutritionist prescribed to me, and I've learned alot about food since then.
Many people think that eating less calories will make them healthier, but that is not always the case. While eating less calories might certainly make you less fat, you must consider other properties certain food might have.
There is a theory of a food pyramid that divides food in certain groups. Each group has its own proteins, vitamins, fibres, carbs, minerals, etc. Many people take under consideration only the quantity of calories when choosing what to eat. That is one of the biggest mistakes they can make, because replacing certain food from one group with another from a different group won't give them all the nutrients they need! There must be a balance between the different groups, so you can have a healthier diet. So I strongly recommend that you go to a nutritionist, learn more about this and have a diet specificaly planned to you. Here is a wikipedia link to food pyramid: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Food_guide_pyramid
Anyway, by diet, I don't mean the kind of diet that restricts you from eating stuff you like or want. It is exactly the opposite. It is just a schedule of how many meals you should have daily and what certain food groups and quantities you should have. In my case, when I'm eating, I choose from the given group, anything I want to eat that belongs to that group and check for the correct quantity (as certain food might need less quantity for being more nutritious than others).
As an example, for dinner I can have either the usual white rice (190g), beans (130g), a steak (100g), carrots (35g), tomatos (40g) and a fruit at the end, or eat some sandwiches: 3 slices of bread with 6 slices of ham, 4 slices of tomatos, carrots (35g) some soybean, and a fruit at the end. Both choices is as nutritious as the other.
I know it might be difficult for you to meet a nutritionist, but if you manage to find a good one, don't miss the chance to. Also, Sebastian, I know you take some vitamins to keep being healthier, but you might want to replace them with food that has those nutrients. Vitamins (pills) should be used only as a temporary solution for the lack of them, as they usually have a much larger quantity than your body should absorb daily. That makes your body not only absorb more than it should (which might have implications), but, in the long run, it creates a resistence to absorb those. That might create some problems for you as you get older.
I eat pretty well and take pretty good care of myself. But it's taken quite a while to get here - before 2006, I had a pretty standard American diet. Lots of pizza, junk food, fast food, liquor, soda, sweets, etc. I smoked cigarettes, cigars, sheesha, and other kinds of tobacco.
Since then I've refined my diet and I eat pretty well. I have more energy, feel better, look better, and God willing, I'll live a lot longer as a result. It's a gradual process though, and I'm still improving. There's a few things I use to do it:
First, I'm all about incremental improvement - I think trying to crash change your diet is unlikely to work unless you have immense amounts of willpower and self-discipline. If you do have these Herculean amounts of will and discipline, you know who you are and don't need my advice. If you're more mortal, then you'll want to pick one or two things to be refining in your diet at a time.
Second, there's two ways I quit food or habits I don't like - "hard quitting" (cold turkey) and "soft quitting" (gradually reduce my consumption and eventually eliminate it). I pick which of these routes to go based on how convenient it is to quit something outright and if there's any detox process. If there's detox (like there was with nicotine), I think it's better to just get it over with once instead of constantly feeling deprived as your body re-adjusts to its new biochemical levels. The most successful method for quitting smoking is cold turkey, isn't it? Something like 80% of successful attempts to quit smoking are cold turkey? I don't have the statistics onhand, but that's the general idea. Quitting something like sugar, bad oils, or excess salt might be easier to do incrementally, since you need to replace the consumption with something else.
Which brings us to third point - I actively introduce new good behaviors before and during the time I quit something. Now, I don't know if the following is a good strategy, but it's what I did - when I started cutting down the sweets I ate, I increased my consumption of the kinds of salty foods I already ate: Chips, french fries, nuts, etc. Later I cut the salt content back. I don't know if that's a good habit, but it's worked okay for me. I also try to actively introduce fruits and vegetables before I quit something - it's hard to go from no fiber food that's highly processed to stimulate you immediately to fruits and vegetables. Fruit tastes bland compared to ice cream. So I introduce fruits and vegetables first, get comfortable with them, then increase my consumption of them as I decrease or eliminate bad consumption.
Nutrition and health is something I take very seriously. Thus eating Healthy without going crazy is one of the key elements to having amazing health.
Although when I'm out eating I put no limits on what I eat, because I like to try new and varied things, when I am home I am very picky. Eating healthy is one of those things I refer to as cumulative habits; Eating healthy for one day or a week out of the year has practically no effect on your life, but eating healthy for 80%+ of the year might add an extra 2 months your life as well as possibly fill you with energy you never knew you had.
Information regarding healthy eating is almost as insane, and convoluted as information regarding how to bake an apple pie, there tons of it, a lot of it is bogus, and most of the good information is filled with confusing words or assumes you know the specifics of how the body works. Thus I've decided to make my own small guide on the decisions I make daily to eat healthy, although sometimes when I go out I don't follow them. NOTE: if you are overweight, I highly recommend you get that handled before you start alternating, unless you are doing a slow-carb type diet with a cheat day. Regardless being overweight is bad, and is one of those things in life that comes with no benefits.
Eating healthy does not be hard, in fact I'm going to outline what to do in three easy steps. Its going to look so easy that people might think I'm crazy.
1. Get rid of all simple carbohydrates. This means Sugar, Bread, Pasta, Rice, potato, corn syrup. I would avoid any "whole grain" products as well, as they usually are just white carbs with color or grains readded. Brown Rice is acceptable. As a general rule just avoid anything made with flour or that's sole purpose is sweetening. Agave, sucralose, honey,bread, pasta and rice all fit in this category