|The Lounge | Champions | The Wire | Schedule | Audio | Arcade | The Top Ten | Historical | Email | Video|
For some of us, food is warmth and love. We associate it with home and childhood: tempting smells that greeted us after school on a cold December afternoon. The kitchen served as the center of the house under the kindly direction of the Captain in the apron. If we were good, we might be allowed to stir the pot. If we were very good, we got to clean out the mixing bowl.
As we grew up, we found wonders elsewhere: the coffee shops and diners where adolescents gathered and food was only a platform for the real business of talking, bonding, and flirting. We drank cola and root beer and discovered sundaes, pizza and french fries. But real food was what we ate at home.
Later, we moved on to the pale imitation of food represented by college cafeterias and underground cafes that were heavy on music and political rebellion and light on the menu. We returned home for the holidays and again ate real food, as good as we remembered. Some of us moved on to the non-food of C rations and swore we'd never enjoy eating again.
We moved into the world of work: automats and deli lunches or expense-account steak and martinis where even the most exquisite fare took a back seat to table discussions. We married, moved into new homes, rediscovered the warmth and intimacy of a family kitchen and embraced the delights of gourmet cooking, homemade bread, and nouvelle cuisine.
At the same time, just below our level of awareness, the fast food industry started to blossom into the billion dollar gorilla it is today.
At first, it was small hamburgers and hot dogs with french fries and a drink. At first, it was an occasional visit to "get mom out of the kitchen." At first, it was just something fast that avoided interruptions in our race to the top.
The menus expanded to encourage more frequent visits. Drive-Thrus that sat closed and empty until noon suddenly discovered how to make breakfast items that could be eaten at the wheel. Chicken, fish, and ribs were added, soon followed by Mexican specialties, baked potatoes, fried vegetables, and sandwiches. The burgers got bigger and so did we.
Somewhere, a brilliant light bulb exploded in an ad man's brain and "Super-Size" was born. If a burger was good, why not make it bigger for just a little more money? If fries are the staff of life for American teenagers, why not make the portions bigger? Why not make the best purchase value a whole meal, combining everything the customer wants (and maybe something they don't)? Why not Super-Size the whole meal and really make money?
Rather than an occasional change-of-pace, the Drive-Thru gradually assumed a predominant place in our diets. Astute marketers targeted their sales pitches to the most responsive and easily manipulated niche of the population: children. Tired, time-strapped parents yielded to tearful pleas to visit Ronald or Jack. And our children grew fat.
Teenagers, with their deep-seated psychological preference to live in their cars existed on a diet made up, almost exclusively, of fast food, turning up their noses at the thought of a home-cooked meal. Active and full of energy, they ignored the almost imperceptible puffiness that their intake triggered.
What was there to worry about? The Drive-Thrus were a gift from heaven: tasty food, fast access, car-proof containers, cheap satiation.
Then we woke up. We looked at a world where even the average individual was clearly overweight and more than a third of us were obese, even our children. In a culture obsessed with the appearance of being thin, we were become permanently, indisputably, fat.
The few earlier voices of criticism increased to a low roar. The tasty creations of yesterday became the now-maligned culprits of our condition. To keep the money-machine viable, the fast food moguls adapted to the cries for change: the oil used for frying was trumpeted as unsaturated, salads appeared on menus, substitute sides for french fries became available, and "Super-Size it?" was no longer the order taker's standard refrain.
The industry breathed a sigh of relief seeing that a few changes made everything all right and the world could return to its infatuation with the Drive-Thru. We beamed with a sense of satisfaction that we had prodded the market in a healthier direction. Then we noticed that we were still fat.
Where had we gone wrong? Well, the "small" burgers were still big: two to three times the size of their relatives of forty years ago. The salads were healthy until drenched with several hundred calories of creamy dressing. To maintain the taste we had come to love, toppings were added: more kinds of cheese, butter, relishes and dipping sauces. And everything was still primarily fried: breakfast, burgers, chicken, potatoes. Even high quality, frequently-changed deep fry oil is loaded with calories to be deposited on our waistlines, hips, and internal organs.
Fast food has taken us out of the kitchen into a world where the demand for productivity makes us work harder and longer and steals away any notion of spare time. We run to keep pace with a society spinning ever faster and we eat on the run because to pause is to fail. Is there no escape? This is the Twenty-first Century -- returning to the food regimes of fifty or a hundred years ago is improbable. The old fashioned "made from scratch" meals require too much time and effort, except for special occasions, in our fast-paced, two-working-parents, long-work-and-commute lives.
What we can do, if we seek to withdraw from the enormous herd of heavyweights, is to remember that the way to health, slenderness, delayed aging, and increased longevity has been demonstrated repetitively by our little friend, the laboratory rat.
The secret is consistent, prolonged, cheat-proofed, under-eating. Once that core concept has been adopted, and completely internalized, the pathway to a new, thin you becomes clear: eat whatever you want but a LOT LESS. We're not looking at the old adage of "eat moderately and move around a lot" because we know, from experience, that it doesn't work. When I say a "lot less" I mean it. You may be eating three times a day, plus snacks. Cutting out a snack here or a dessert there may eventually help you lose weight - if you have twenty years to invest in the attempt.
Don't "cut back." Slash, sever, pulverize your portions. If you eat three meals a day, change to eating just one. If you like to graze on six mini-meals or snacks, cut to two. Reducing your overall intake by two thirds should bring you into the zone of your actual daily needs. Yes, it would be nice if you opted to make those reduced calories all highly nutritious but we all know that you are going to eat what you are going to eat, no matter how much the health gurus nag you. So go ahead and eat what you intend, just one third of your usual rations.
To keep your energy on an even keel, you can spread your one meal throughout the day. If your usual lunch is a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, split it up: a shake for breakfast, a burger for lunch, a dinner of fries and a slice of cheese. Are you then on a diet? Are you using your precious time on specialty shopping and food preparation? Do you have to think about what menu items fit into your prescribed weight plan? No, none of these apply. You are simply eating the way you have always done except one day of your prior food plan now last three days. If you're worried about your health, take a multivitamin (funny, you weren't worried about your health on the same fare in the past, were you?) If you are a tall, large-boned individual or you feel (genuinely and persistently) faint, take a canned nutritional booster like Ensure.
It is almost too simple and too easy IF you have really internalized the concept of under-eating and have adopted a "can do,will do," attitude - the key to everything.
P. S. You'll save a lot of money too!
Virginia Bola is a licensed psychologist and an admitted diet fanatic. She specializes in therapeutic reframing and the effects of attitudes and motivation on individual goals. The author of The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual, and a free ezine, The Worker's Edge, she recently completed a psychologically-based weight control book: Diet with an Attitude: A Weight Loss Workbook. She can be reached at http://www.DietWithAnAttitude.com
From weight loss to fundraising, 'ironic effects' can sabotage our best-laid plans - The Guardian (blog)
The First Tragedy in a Lifetime of Weightloss
I am approaching 70 years of age very quickly and I have been dieting since I was thirteen years old.To look at me now you would not think that I have been a professional boxer or a marathon runner.
Starbucks and Kicking Bad Habits
Many of enjoy sitting down at Starbucks and enjoying a cup of coffee, many of us drink the frappachinos. Starbucks in fact is celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the Brownie Frappachino, which was interesting.
The Right Diet Pill - Where Do You Begin?
The right diet pill should be carefully considered when deciding how much weight you are looking to lose. More importantly, it is necessary to consider how you will keep the weight off once your targeted weight is achieved.
Mediterranean Diet - What is It?
Well, to begin with, there isn't really any one Mediterranean Diet! There's a whole swag of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The basic Mediterranean Diet has common characteristics even if the sourrounding countries differ in culture, language and recipes to some extent.
How Much Will A Tummy Tuck Really Cost?
The cost of a tummy tuck is something to consider when making your ultimate decision. The fees vary and depend on the type of surgery performed, geographic location, hospital and anesthesia fees and other costs.
7 Reasons Low Carb Diets are Wrong
The human body is designed to run best on a certain type and balance of fuel. Unfortunately the latest low-carbohydrate fad diets are not fuel that the human body was designed to run on.
Weight Gain = Poor Quality of Life
Gaining up to 20 pounds over four years can significantly decrease quality of life, according to a study in the Dec. 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Weight Loss Through the Right Natural Food
At its most basic, dieting is about burning more calories than you take in. It's simple mathematics.
Weight Loss and Disease - It's Not the Food that's Killing Us!
Whether coming from a close friend, the nightly news or from a letter in the mail, it's hard to face the truth at times. Hearing it can really cut to the core of our beings.
Phentermine Side Effects
When you're taking Phentermine, you should go to the emergency room if you experience any of the side effects listed below:I) Allergic Reaction:a. difficulty breathingb.
Can Writing Actually Improve Your Health?
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, writing about stressful life events helped reduce symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis in patients with these chronic illnesses. The effects of the writing exercise were still evident four months later and resulted in clinically meaningful improvements in patient symptoms.
It's Not Just About Dieting
You may not like what I'm about to say, but dieting alone will not help you to lose weight. You have to give your body the exercise it needs.
Ultimate Weight loss: Ephedra is it Good or Bad?
I have had some e-mails come in and everyone is asking "is ephedra is safe or not?".Well I wont reply to that question.
Six Steps to Weight Loss Success
What does it take to lose weight?When it comes to losing weight there is so much conflicting information out there that a lot of people just are not sure where to begin. There is an old saying that states "if you want learn how to get rich then hang out with rich people" Well, that old saying can also be applied if you want to lose weight.
The Atkins Diet - Separating Fact From Fiction
Have you ever wished for a diet where you ate bacon, eggs, red meat, butter and sausage all day? Surprise! It's not the Atkins Diet.The Atkins Diet has been in existence for over 30 years and has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the last few years.
Getting Through the Holidays Without Gaining Weight
Now that the holiday season is here, holiday foods and meals take center stage. And this is as it should be.
Walk Your Way to Weight Loss
"The sovereign invigorator of the body is exercise, and of all the exercises walking is the best." Thomas JeffersonThe problem of obesity is growing (pardon the pun) in America and it doesn't appear that dieting alone is helping people with their weight loss goals.
Which is Better? Exercise or Dieting?
If you want to reduce your body fat, focus on increasing the amount of exercise you get rather than decreasing your food intake. A recent national study was done using two groups of sedentary men, one group in their 20's and the other over age 65.
The Mysterious Dr. Atkins Death
Dr. Atkins death was unexpected.
Dieting? What You Need to Know About Physical Activity
What is the best form of physical activity?The best form of physical activity is what you will actually do often. That is it.
Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us
Copyright © 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.