Eating well

I spent some time at a private, physician-run weight loss clinic as a resident. My supervisor told me, "None of these people could care less about the medical benefits of weight loss. They just want to fit into a pair of size 4 jeans."

Whatever your reasons for eating well, here's the spiel I regularly give to patients, gleaned from colleagues and professional experience:

  • List your five favourite, and five least favourite foods. You can continue to eat your favourites, and permanently remove the ones you dislike from your diet.
  • Pick one small thing to change at a time, something you can foresee yourself sticking with indefinitely. Sweeping, drastic changes are almost impossible to maintain. See below for suggestions.
  • Avoid extremes. If you love two eggs on toast every morning, don't decide to cut out eggs forever. One egg a day is still a 50% reduction.
  • If it's not clear what could be changed, review with your physician or a dietitian.
  • Implement this change for 30 days before attempting another. Make it a habit.
  • Repeat.

Ideas to get you started:

  • If you're hungry between meals, eat a piece of fruit. Once you've eaten your six servings of fruit in a day, you can snack on whatever you want. It'll be harder to get to the Doritos than you think.
  • At every meal, aim for half the plate to be filled with vegetables, one quarter with meat/protein, and a quarter grains.
  • Drink water, rather than pop or juice, between meals.
  • Have dessert only on weekends.
  • At a party, eat only the foods you love, rather than snacking on everything presented to you.

Fad diets come and go, but Canada's Food Guide has existed, with modifications, since 1942. It's a great resource. There's more to it than the rainbow poster that hung on your Grade 2 classroom wall.