I Must Love Me Too

If you have neglected yourself,
make a sincere apology to thee.
Gather the "love-me-not-petals" of your life
and start counting "I-must-love-me-too".
In no time at all you have
a beautiful flower blossom within you. ~ Dodinsky Writings

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Food Habits to Work On

Food Habits To Work On
By Sally Squires
Tuesday, May 30, 2006; Page HE01

They read nutrition labels, fret about their expanding waistlines
and pay attention to portions. But fat and calories still perplex
them. They know they should move more but are mostly inactive.
They recognize the new food pyramid but choose what to eat based
on taste and price rather than health.

Sounds familiar? It should. It's a snapshot of Americans that
emerged from a new national survey of consumer behavior and

'They read nutrition labels, fret about their expanding waistlines
and pay attention to portions. But fat and calories still perplex
them. They know they should move more but are mostly inactive.
They recognize the new food pyramid but choose what to eat based
on taste and price rather than health.',

The majority of those questioned correctly understand that their
weight, diet and physical activity influence their health,
according to the survey, which was sponsored by the
International Food Information Council Foundation, a
Washington-based group funded by food, beverage and
agricultural companies.

Knowledge is one thing. Putting it into practice is another.
But there's good news: The survey found that more than half
of consumers reported having improved their diets in the past
six months by eating fewer calories and by adjusting the foods
they ate. Nearly two of every three who made improvements said
they had done so after talking with a health professional or
family and friends, or simply after reading food labels.

Here are the survey highlights, along with easy ways to make course corrections:

Calorie quandary. Nearly 90 percent of the 1,000 respondents had no
idea how many calories they should consume daily to maintain their
weight. About half couldn't even wager a guess. Only a third
understood how extra calories, no matter in what food they are
consumed, contribute to weight gain.

Simple fix: To find your caloric balance, take your weight and
multiply by 10. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, that's 1,500 calories.
This is how much energy you need just to keep breathing. If you live
a mostly sedentary life, add 20 to 40 percent more calories;
40 to 60 percent more if you are active. Or do what the federal
government does: Assume that most adults need 2,000 calories a
day for a stable weight.

Slim on healthy fat facts . Saturated fat and trans fat were
correctly fingered as unhealthy by most of those surveyed.

About half said theytry to eat fewer saturated fats;
nearly as many are attempting to
cut down on the trans fats found in many commercially prepared
fried and baked foods. But the message to eat more healthy fat
is still missed by nearly 40 percent of those polled. They didn't
know that polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats found in olive
and canola oils, healthy margarine, nuts and avocados are healthy.
About a third, however, are correctly trying to eat fewer foods
that contain hydrogenated oil or partially hydrogenated oils.

Simple fix : At home, reduce use of processed foods, which are more
likely to have saturated or trans fat. At restaurants, skip or
skimp on the fries, chicken nuggets and fried fish filets,
which are often loaded with trans fats. At the grocery, read
labels to avoid foods high in cholesterol and saturated fat and
trans fat. Finally, remember that the recommendation is not to
increase total fat consumption, but simply to swap good fats
for the bad. Advice is still to keep total fat intake at about
30 percent of total daily calories.

Sugarcoating . About half of those polled say they are
carbohydrate-conscious, paying close attention to how many
and what types of carbs they eat. The vast majority know
that glucose, sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, lactose
and fructose are types of sugar. But fewer respondents were
aware of "added sugars" in many processed foods and just one
in six reported eating the recommended two cups of fruit and
2 1/2 cups of vegetables daily.

Simple fix : Get carbs first from fruit and vegetables, which
contain complex carbohydrates that are less likely to send
blood sugar soaring. Cut back on foods with added sugar such
as sweetened cereal, cookies, candy, ice cream and soft drinks.

Controlling intake. About half of those surveyed say they are
trying to improve their diets. The most common strategies:
portion control and reducing calories eaten.

Simple fix: To help with portion control, keep a kitchen scale and
measuring cups and spoons handy in the kitchen. Serve food on
smaller plates. Skip eating family style with large platters
of food on the table that make it easy to take extra helpings.
At restaurants, split entrees or turn one meal into two by
taking home leftovers. Another option: Order two appetizers
instead of a large entree. At fast-food restaurants, choose
small sizes or the kids meal rather than super-sized portions.

Underestimating girth. Two-thirds of respondents say that they
are overweight, extremely overweight or obese -- a percentage
consistent with the latest government figures. Even so, when
height and weight information supplied by the participants
was used to calculate body mass index, nearly a third of
participants who described themselves as being at an ideal
weight were actually overweight, while 75 percent who said
they were merely overweight qualified as obese.

Simple fix : Do a little spring preening by climbing on a scale
to check your weight. Use a free electronic calculator to
determine your body mass index at http://nhlbisupport.com/bmi ,
which will also tell you whether you are at a healthy weight,
overweight or obese. ·

Join Sally Squires, author of the recently published
"Secrets of the Lean Plate Club" (St. Martin's Press) live
online from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. today

http://www.washingtonpost.com/leanplateclub, where you can also
subscribe to the free LPC weekly e-mail newsletter.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company