My Disney Diet Diary Chapter 4 "Make a Plan - Dietary"
Updated: Oct 17, 2022
The second part of my plan is the most difficult of all – making dietary changes to promote better weight and improved stamina. Remember when I mentioned not having to plan exercise while I was studying in Guatemala because I walked everywhere? Well, it turns out that I also did not plan any special diet while abroad because not only did I get daily exercise, I also was eating Guatemalan food and not good old America food. What is the difference between the American diet and the Guatemalan diet? For starters, my host mother went to the market for fresh produce EVERY day. The reason for this is that although they had a refrigerator, they only used it to store food needing to be prepared – there were no leftovers in that thing – all it had was milk, eggs and occasionally some uncooked meat product. Our meals consisted of fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, and eggs. We were served meat protein only once a day, and usually it was a soup that had the meat. There was no fast food and very little complex or processed foods (we would sometimes have a fresh pastry for breakfast or homemade tortillas for lunch occasionally).
Well, I am sure you can see the difference between the Guatemalan diet and our American diet where we have processed foods, frozen meals, fast food, and very little fresh fruits and vegetables. And for those of us trying to lose weight, there is a whole industry of choices such as keto diet, low carb diet, diabetic diet, dash diet, diet shakes, meal replacement, etc. It is difficult to choose one over the other. My advice is first of all – you need to learn how much a normal portion size is of every food.
Meat – should be about the size of a deck of cards or your hand if fish.
Carbohydrates – about 1 cup or the size of your fist
Vegetables – non-starch veggies are pretty much unlimited (salad, spinach, carrots, broccoli) vs starchy veggies ½ - 1 cup is normal portion size.
The Calorie King book https://www.calorieking.com/us/en/products/books/ and website (free) https://www.calorieking.com/us/en/ has one of the best guide to how much carbohydrates and fat that you can consume and still lose weight. In the beginning, this will be a learning process as you learn how much to eat of which product. You will constantly need to look up and log everything you eat in order to figure out what you can eat. Pretty soon, it will be a habit and you will just know that 1 slice of Mrs. Baird’s Honey Wheat bread is about 120 calories and 1 carb serving (15 grams).
Log these meals in your food diary:
foods eaten/serving size
food eaten/serving size
food eaten/serving size
For those of you who plan to use technology from My Fitness Pal, Noom, Fitbit, the food database is included as part of the app and program. You can keep your diary electronically and monitor your weight loss via use of the apps. And now that you know how many calories to eat (see my earlier article “Set the Bar”) you will be able to make choices about how you are going to consume those calories. Don’t deprive yourself of your favorite meals but plan ahead, know how many calories that take out meal will be, and adjust your exercise regimen if you want to eat more calories that day. For example, when I go to Walt Disney World, I am looking forward to eating some of my favorite meals and snacks (Hello Mickey Bar), and I will need to keep track of my intake so that I don’t come back from vacation 10 pounds heavier. However, since Disney World requires massive amounts of walking, I’m burning off extra calories so that means I can eat more!
What about those meal programs like Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, etc.? Yes, I like when my patients do a meal service nutrition plan because that means they don’t have to plan and do not need to keep track of calories. However, unless you plan on eating those foods forever, I do want you to think about how you are going to eat without a prepared meal for weight loss one you have achieved your weight loss goals.
What about nutritional shakes, Intermittent Fasting, Dietary Supplements? The nutritional shakes really help patients initially with weight loss and energy but long term, it can be difficult to maintain. Are you replacing meals with shakes for the rest of your life? I hope not. But for the short term, I approve. Intermittent Fasting is ok with me too unless you are diabetic or prone to hypoglycemia. Low sugar can, no joke, cause you to feel tired, weak, and faint. Dietary Supplements are not regulated so I cannot provide any data as to whether they help or not. However, some of the supplements are harmful so I ask my patients to bring the bottle to their appointments or snap a picture of the label so that I can see what is in it.
Now that you have chosen a way to monitor your intake, I want to speak about some of the psychological issues surrounding weight loss:
1. Oh the Shame! – weight gain is associated with depression, anxiety, and poor self-esteem. We are so hard on ourselves and become sensitive to anyone else bringing it up. I have to remind patients that obesity is an illness and not a choice – would you feel ashamed if you were diagnosed with thyroid disease and had to get thyroid medicine? How about if your appendix got infected and you need surgery? Is it your fault? Don’t let your shame make you miss out on treatment. It’s ok to talk about weight. It’s ok to need help losing weight.
2. Guilty Feelings – why oh why did we decide that food is good or evil? My patients ask me, “do I need to stop eating pork”? Or sometimes, oh that’s a bad food… My answer is that there are no good foods and there are no bad foods. You don’t need to cut an entire food from your life if you have those feelings. It’s ok to have that slice of birthday cake every now and then – as long as it fits into your calorie budget, and you planned it out.
3. Unhealthy habits – eating disorders like Bulimia, Anorexia, and Binge Eating are very prevalent in our society but they are often undiagnosed and even then, no one ever talks about it. I urge you that if you have symptoms of any of the disorders above (self-induced vomiting after eating, depriving yourself of food, or eating massive quantities of food secretly several times a month) that you see your doctor for treatment before you try losing weight on your own.
What dietary changes are you planning to make? Please comment and share below.
Until next time –
Dr. Brandy 😊
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